Introduction to writerly engagement : the reinvention of Chinese literature in Europe and the Americas, 1910–2010

Stephen RODDY, Zong-qi CAI

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Chinese literature began its westward journey nearly 450 years ago, when the Italian Jesuit Michele Ruggieri (1543-1607) translated the Confucian Sishu 四書 (Four Books) into Latin, and even composed Christian-themed poetry in Chinese. A steady stream of Jesuit-authored or-sponsored writings over the following two centuries gave birth to the academic study of China in Europe, formalized by institutions such as the Collège de France when it appointed Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat (1788–1832) as its first Chair of Sinology. This recognition soon reverberated across literary circles of the day: more than any other single work, it was Abel-Rémusat’s translation of the 17th-century novella Yu jiao li 玉嬌梨 (Two Fair Cousins; Les deux cousines [Fr.]; 1826) that inspired Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) to advocate for his vision of a “world literature” (Weltliteratur). After China was forcibly opened to foreign residents in 1843, a more extensive range of authors and genres was made accessible to Western readers by scholars and missionaries such as Stanislas Julien (1797–1873), Alexander Wylie (1815–1887), John Frye (1829–1928), and Herbert Giles (1845–1935).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Western Reinvention of Chinese Literature, 1910-2010 : From Ezra Pound to Maxine Hong Kingston
EditorsZong-qi CAI, Stephen RODDY
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789004515031
ISBN (Print)9789004515048
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameChinese Texts in the World
ISSN (Print)2666-2361


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