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Revised - Research Seminar : "M. H. Abrams’ Scheme and the Chinese Theory of Literature"
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Topic:  Revised - Research Seminar : "M. H. Abrams’ Scheme and the Chinese Theory of Literature"
posted itemPosted - 20/11/2007 :  13:58:47
City University of Hong Kong Dep

Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Research Seminar

M. H. Abrams’ Scheme and the Chinese Theory of Literature

Presented by

Professor Wang Xiaolu

Visiting Professor, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong

Date: 9 July 2008, Wednesday (Revised)
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU


M. H. Abrams’s scheme in his The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and Critical Tradition is of great influence not only among the scholars in North America but also in China. Some of the scholars, assuming and indicating its universal validity, apply such schemes for the analysis of literary texts, including the Chinese theory of literature. The speaker holds that the logic premise for such an application remains the academic ground: whether the theory itself could be the universal and what the specific research object would require as well. By analyzing some of the applications and supplements, the speaker argues that Abrams’ scheme is still the one within the historical moment, which could hardly be effective to the analysis of text production, circulation, reception and the literary trends since the 1960s. Since theory is an interpretation of experience, a study of theory can never serve as a footnote to it. And there would never be a ready-made scheme for literary studies.


Wang, Xiaolu, Ph.D. from Sichuan University. Now he is professor of literature at Program in Cultural Criticism, Chinese Department of College of Literature & Journalism; Program in English Language and Literature at the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Sichuan University. He serves as executive editor for the English journal Comparative Literature: East & West. Currently he is a visiting professor at the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics of City University of Hong Kong. He was a visiting faculty at Arizona State University; visiting professor at Duke University, the University of Chicago, USA and visiting scholar at UBC, McGill and the University of Toronto, Canada. His major publications include scholarly books A Study of Key Concepts in Cultural Criticism (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2007); Cultural Studies: A Selected Reader. Co-edited. Beijing: Foreign Languages and Research Press, 2007;  Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Edward L. Davis, ed. Routledge, 2004, (for entries of contemporary Chinese literature, authors, works as well as some cultural events and scholars.); Contemporary Western Cultural Criticism: A Reader. Co-edited. Chengdu, 2004; Chinese Literary Theory in the West. Co-authored. Chengdu: 2003; Perspectives, Questions, Consciousness: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. Chengdu, 2003. A Study of Contemporary American Theory of Fiction. Co-authored Beijing: 2001; Dialogues Between Chinese and Western Poetics: A Study of Traditional Chinese Literary Theory in the English Speaking World.  Chengdu: 2000; and number of articles in the fields of cultural criticism and literary studies.

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