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​Chinese | New book by Uganda Kwan explores fiction from the late-Qing Dynasty to early-Modern China

Published on: 08-Jan-2020

Associate Professor Uganda Kwan published a new book titled Transformation of the Idea of the novel and the Translingual lexicon “Xiaoshuo” in Late Imperial China Lexicon.

In the course of the modernization from the late Qing Dynasty to the May 4th Movement, the novel became a mainstream literary type. 

Based on detailed historical materials, this book explores how the ancient Chinese "novel" from the late Qing Dynasty to the beginning of the Republic of China transformed the concept of ancient Chinese novels through translation. It also examines how 小说 was translated into novels in the modern West.

Modern Chinese literary academics Liang Qichao, Lu Simian, Lu Xun, etc drew a thread and analyzed the concept of "novels" deduced in their literary theories.

The concept of Western novels was introduced to the East, so Chinese "小说" gradually explored literature, society and existence. This led to the emergence of new literature, which is still in use today. To this day, Chinese novels are a mainstream type of literature that is rich in artistic and social value.

Endorsement of the book by Professor Wang Gungwu:

Dr. Kwan's careful study of the vital role of translation in China's modernisation is not only a major contribution to translation history but also a remarkable analysis of the several transitions of  Xiaoshuo 小说 traditions to the new novel 新小说 of Liang Qichao 梁启超 and Lu Xun 鲁迅's  A brief history of xiaoshuo 小说史略.  Her close examination of Japanese and Chinese studies on the subject explains why the birth of the modern novel in China was so convoluted.  Particularly original are her three chapters on 林纾 that restore his well-deserved position as someone whose versions of Western fiction transformed the literary sensibilities of a critical generation of Chinese modernisers.


For more information, visit the publisher website at

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