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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Starting with a reflection on Lu Xun’s ambivalence toward the writing of literary history, this chapter analyzes the emergence and importance of literary history as a discursive tool for structuring the production and transmission of knowledge about literature from the late Qing onward. In the context of China’s transition to a Western-style educational system in the early twentieth century, reinforced by a turn of intellectuals from literary revolution to “Rearranging the National Heritage” after 1919, literary history with its systemic approach replaced the traditional literary education focused on rhetoric, aesthetic taste, and composition. This crucial shift in discursive system and the concomitant lack of attention to literariness and creativity has had a profound and lasting influence on literary studies in China and continues to impact the production, analysis, and teaching of literature today.

Keywords: Lu Xun, literary history, Western-style education, Rearranging the National Heritage

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