World literature has smiled on Lu Xun 魯迅. He stands, if not as the foremost, then as a major representative of modern Chinese literature in anthologies. Though anthologies are not the ultimate arbiters of literary worldliness, they are influential discursive sites because of their accessibility and classroom utility. To wit, he is a common figure on university syllabi in world literature surveys. Professionally, scholarship on Lu Xun’s work reaches far beyond disciplinary Chinese studies. His works have been translated and retranslated many times in less than a century. All this is perhaps fitting considering his extraordinary services rendered to world literature as a reader and translator. Following David Damrosch’s (2003) provisional definition of world literature as circulation beyond a national origin (281), Lu Xun enabled dozens of works to circulate in Chinese, and in turn his works circulate beyond the Sinosphere. But not all of them. If, following Franco Moretti (2013), we were to look at world literature as a market, a work’s circulation has to do with the demands of readers as much as with its innate qualities (69-70). These demands reflect geopolitical realities, to be sure, but can also constitute an apologetics for them.
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Dooghan, D. M. (2017). Old tales, untold: Lu Xun against world literature. Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, 14(1), 31-64.
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