A perspective prominent in this volume is imagology, an approach first developed by Daniel-Henry Pageaux, and which focuses on specific images in literary and other texts. The study of the image of the “foreign” in national literary traditions, for instance, belongs to the traditional purview of comparative literature. Pageaux did more than uphold this tradition. He practically reinvented it using new theoretical concepts and perspectives (in particular, semiotics and reception aesthetics). On this basis, he was able to develop a theory and a methodology that are both usable and in tune with contemporary concerns.
The present book covers a wide range of topics in the study of images of Westerners in Chinese and Japanese literature. Individual contributions deal with issues such as the genesis of the Chinese term Foreign Devil, the occurrence of Westerners in modern Chinese and Japanese literature, and the Chinese and Japanese reception of indiviual western authors and artists such as, amongst others, Oscar Wilde, Vincent Van Gogh, and Madame Roland. Some papers examine individual authors such as Lu Xun and Takeyama Michio. Others examine historical periods or literary movements. The approaches followed range from historical investigations of linguistic practices to detailed literary analyses.