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Inter-Subjectivity and Imagined Sovereignty: John Fryer’s New-Age Novel Contest in 1895 and the Rise of Modern Chinese Novel

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image of Ming Qing Yanjiu

The concept of inter-subjectivity serves as a starting point to discuss a book-writing competition sponsored by John Fryer in 1895 and the rise of modern Chinese fiction. His departure from China the following year had two possible reasons: money and the expectations. The money issue was related to the prompt initiation and excessive expences of this contest; besides, the contest specific requirements contributed greatly to the identity awareness of the Chinese writers. The horizon of one’s expectations touches the problem of subjectivities. A fusion of the expectations of the missionary and those of Chinese literati manifested itself in The New-Age Novel as inter-subjectivity. Nevertheless, the expression of imagined sovereignty of Chinese literati in the works presented at the contest went beyond Fryer’s expectations and gave birth to not only simply a Western impact and Chinese response and a Sino-centric pattern both which served as a spur to the rise of modern Chinese novel.


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