Literary Representations of Christianity in Late Qing and Republican China


Literary Representations of Christianity in Late Qing and Republican China contributes to the “literary turn” in the study of Chinese Christianity by foregrounding the importance of literary texts, including the major genres of Chinese Christian literature (novels, drama and poetry) of the late Qing and Republican periods. These multifarious types of texts demonstrated the multiple representations and dynamic scenes of Christianity, where Christian imageries and symbolism were transformed by linguistic manipulation into new contextualized forms which nurtured distinctive new fruits of literature and modernized the literary landscape of Chinese literature. The study of the composition and poetics of Chinese Christian literary works helps us rediscover the concerns, priorities, textual strategies of the Christian writers, the cross-cultural challenges involved, and the reception of the Bible.

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John T. P. Lai, PhD (2005), University of Oxford, is Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has published three monographs, including Negotiating Religious Gaps: The Enterprise of Translating Christian Tracts by Protestant Missionaries in Nineteenth-Century China (2012).
"The book’s greatest asset is its ability to draw on multiple fields to show the migration, translation, and reinterpretation of stories and images between China and the West. Lai’s deep knowledge of several fields, including biblical exegesis and interpretation, translation studies, Chinese folk religion, and more, are reflected in his analyses. (...) This is a valuable contribution to the field, both summarizing and enhancing the ongoing “literary turn” in the study of Christianity in modern China. The various chapters serve as compact case studies in translation and crosscultural interaction and are useful for both research and teaching purposes."
Steven Pieragastini, Loyola Marymount University, Journal of Jesuit Studies 6 (2019).
List of Illustrations
1 Introduction: Literary Turn in the Study of Chinese Christianitybr/>  2 Empire Re-mapped: Image of Britain in Karl Gützlaff’s Novels
 1 Westerners/British not “Barbarians”
 2 Trading, not “tribute paying”
 3 Britain: The “Supreme Nation”
 4 Britain upholding the orthodoxy
 5 Factors behind Gützlaff’s constructed British image
3 Bible in Fiction: Chinese Protestant Novels of the Late Nineteenth Century
 1 Fictional Transformation of Biblical Biographies: Yuese jilüe (Brief Biography of Joseph, 1852)
 2 Harmonization and Contextualisation of Gospel Accounts: Zhengdao qimeng (Enlightening the Right Way, 1864)
 3 Displacement of Biblical Mythology: Qu mo zhuan (Story of Demon Banishing, 1895)
4 Bible on Stage: Chinese Catholic Dramas of the Republican Period
 1 Moralistic and Religious Agenda of Chinese Catholic Literature
 2 Dramatizing the Biblical Narratives
 3 Edifying and Entertaining Dimensions of Two Joseph Dramas
 4 Drama Performance and Communal Transformation
5 Saints Re-membered: Chinese Dramatization of Martyrdom
 1 Dramatizing the Martyrdom Stories
 2 Martyrdom Narratives of the Maccabees
 3 Resolving the Moral Conflict of Martyrdom
6 Popular Reception: Chinese Folk Imagination of Christianity
 1 Heavenly Family in Hong Xiuquan’s Dream Vision
 2 Image of Jesus in Anti-Christian Pamphlets
 3 Journey to Hell in Chinese Catholic Novel
 4 Afterlife in Chinese Spiritual Songs
 5 Revelation of Jesus in Daoist Planchette Writings
7 Poetic Inspiration: Biblical Imageries in Modern Chinese Poetry
 1 The Bible as Devotional Inspiration for Bing Xin
 2 The Bible as Ideological Inspiration for Zhou Zuoren
 3 The Bible as Archetypal Inspiration for Mu Dan
8 Pilgrims Re-progressed: Christian Interpretation of The Journey to the West
 1 Mahayana Christianity and Buddhist Trinity
 1.1 Julai as Christ, the Incarnate God
 1.2 Kwanyin as the Holy Spirit
 2 Huen Chwang as Apostle Paul
 3 The Pilgrim’s Progress of Nestorianism
 4 “Multi-religious” Kingdom of God
9 Conclusion
Scholars and graduate students of Religion and Literature, Chinese Christianity, history of modern China, and cross-cultural translation/communication.
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