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Introduction: Global Chinese Literature

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which aims to make explicit the conceptual, disciplinary, historical, linguistic, and geographical tensions that occasion the emergence of Sinophone literature. For the most of the twentieth century, the study of modern Chinese literature as a national tradition carried on primarily two conversations: with modernity and with its own post-1949 factious internal landscape. The former began to take shape under the general rubric of Westernization in the nineteenth century. After the Opium War, the political and social elite attempted a series of military and institutional reforms in one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history. The book demonstrates how an emphasis on the Sinophone can neither be subsumed under nor fully extricate itself from the history of modern Chinese writing. The chapter also presents an overview of how other chapters of the book are organised.

Keywords: Global Chinese literature; Sinophone



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