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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The study and teaching of American literature and American realism in China mirrored the social development and cultural transformation in China and was often fueled by political incentives. This chapter examines the cultural and political forces affecting the reception of American literature in different stages of Chinese history and investigates the teaching of American literature and of American realism in Chinese university classrooms. Different from the teaching of American literature in English-speaking countries, the American literature course in China serves a twofold purpose: to provide cultural nutrient for the cultivation of a broader mind by highlighting the cultural norms and rubrics in literature and to promote students’ language proficiency by a careful study of the text and formal elements of literary works. The history of the Chinese reception of American literature thus reflects the resilience and openness of Chinese culture in its negotiation with foreign cultures.

Keywords: American realism, American literature in China, teaching and research, politics and literature, reception of American literature, language proficiency

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