The Western Reinvention of Chinese Literature, 1910-2010

From Ezra Pound to Maxine Hong Kingston


Volume Editors: and
During much of China’s tumultuous 20th century, May 4th and Maoist iconoclasts regarded their classical literary heritage as a burden to be dislodged in the quest for modernization. This volume demonstrates how the traditions that had deeply impressed earlier generations of Western writers like Goethe and Voltaire did not lose their lustre; to the contrary, a fascination with these past riches sprouted with renewed vigour among Euro-American poets, novelists, and other cultural figures after the fall of imperial China in 1911. From Petrograd to Paris, and from São Paolo to San Francisco, China’s premodern poetry, theatre, essays, and fiction inspired numerous prominent writers and intellectuals. The contributors survey the fruits of this engagement in multiple Western languages and nations.

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Zong-qi Cai teaches at Lingnan University of Hong Kong and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published thirteen scholarly books in English and five in Chinese, the most recent of which are his monograph Grammar and Poetic Visions (2021), and his edited volume How to Read Chinese Prose: A Guided Anthology (2022).
Stephen Roddy teaches Asian Studies at the University of San Francisco. He has published articles and monographs about late-traditional Chinese fiction, prose, and poetry, and recently translated (with Ying Wang) Li Yu’s 1651 play, The Fragrant Companions (2022).
Notes on Contributors

Stephen Roddy and Zong-qi Cai

1 Walter Benjamin’s China
William Cheung

2 The Chinese Written Character and the Reinvention of Western and Chinese Poetry: Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound
Xiaohui Zhang and Zong-qi Cai

3 A Semiopoetic Reimagination of Concreteness: Chinese Ideograms in Haroldo de Campos
Inez Zhou

4 A Poet-Knight-Errant Traveling North: Three Russian Poets’ Translations of Li Bai
Xiaolu Ma

5 Robert Hans van Gulik and the Reinvention of Chinese Detective Fiction
Yunte Huang

6 Rethinking Pearl S. Buck and Tanci Fiction
Yu Zhang

7 Transcultural, Transmedial Reinvention: Shuihu zhuan 水滸傳 (Water Margin) from Chinese Classic to Italian Comic Art
Martina Caschera

8 A Post-Orientalist Turn: Pascal Quignard, Michèle Métail, and China
Xiaofan Amy Li

9 Global South Feminisms in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts and Patricia Galvão’s Industrial Park
Ana Paulina Lee

10 Sino-Pacifism: China in the Peace Work(s) of Maxine Hong Kingston, Kenneth Rexroth, & Lou Harrison
Stephen Roddy

Undergraduate and graduate students in Chinese and comparative literature; specialists in Sino-Western cultural contact; general readers with an interest in twentieth century Western literature related to China.
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