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??? COHPAnATIST essays to each part, all interesting in themselves, do not establish connections with sites or schools similar to the Amsterdam School elsewhere in Europe or in the US (Chicago and Duke might be good candidates, and perhaps still Syracuse). Reticence in this domain fosters a kind of isolation. By their own example ofcollective engagement and close reading, the practitioners at the Amsterdam School ofCultural Analysis included in this volume seek to propagate a method for the interdisciplinary humanist elsewhere. Some ofus will wish tojoin in their collective engagement by creating interdisciplinary opportunities like theirs. We will do well to recognize our own limitations, as they have, and to welcome strangers as well as friends to comparative literature. William MoebiusUniversityofMassachusetts, Amherst ZHANG LONGXI. Mighty Opposites: From Dichotomies to Differences in the Comparative Study ofChina. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998. viii + 248 pp. + YINGJIN ZHANG, ed. China in a Polycentric World: Essays in Chinese Comparative Literature. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998. xii +307 pp. THE (IM)POSSIBILITY OF CHINESE COMPARATIVE LITERATURE Both works under review are concerned with the comparative study ofChina and Chinese literature. As such, both works represent efforts at redefining comparative literature in terms of transnational cultural studies. Together with a plethora of recent publications in comparative literature that center on non-Western works, these volumes challenge conventional taxonomies ofliterary influences and offer diverse strategies for engaging a world no longer quite centered around Euro-America . Readers interested in disciplinary critiques of comparative literature or in the study ofnon-Western texts may find these works useful. China in a Polycentric World, edited by Yingjin Zhang, is a selection ofessays drawn from the 1994 conference ofthe American Association ofChinese Comparative Literature (AACCL), an organization originally founded in 1987 by a group of Chinese students in the United States. Over the years, the AACCL has grown considerably in stature and now routinely meets with the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). The "Chineseness" in the name ofthe organization and the title of the present volume is defined as "a cultural rather than ethnic, national or political reference point" (6). Several essays are from established scholars in the field, including one by Eugene Eoyang, former president ofthe ACLA. The large majority of the essays, however, are from relative newcomers who received their degrees in comparative literature or Chinese studies in the eighties and nineties. This new generation ofscholars has made an increasing impact on the field in the past two decades, as this volume ofessays clearly indicates. The central concern that links this diverse group ofscholars is the potentially fruitful relationship between Western theory and Chinese texts. Except for the polemical essays by Zhang Longxi and David Palumbo-Liu, to be discussed later, most of the essays in this volume engage in theoretically informed readings of Chinese texts. In other words, literary and cultural texts are treated as the ground for "archaeology," and theories in their tum are deployed as tools ofcritical reading that help excavate "the concealed sites ofknowledge production" (10), such as cultural modernity, urban experience, and canon formation. The editor ofthe volume VcH. 25 (2001): 157 REVIEW ESSAYS thus distinguishes the approach represented here from two other options that engage Chinese literature and Western theory: "The first option is to launch a sustained critique of 'the hegemonic status of Western theoretical thinking' in exclusively Western terms. [. . .] The second option is to study comparative poetics and to introduce Chinese aesthetics to the Western world" (9). References make it clear that the first approach is represented in recent works by Rey Chow (Primitive Passions , Columbia UP, 1995) and the second by those ofJames Liu (Chinese Theories ofLiterature, U of Chicago P, 1975) and Pauline Yu (TAe Reading ofImagery in Chinese Poetry, Princeton UP, 1987). The approach ofthe present volume is then to practice what Eugene Eoyang elsewhere calls "co-oppositional discourse"—"a program that would require the cooperation of seemingly opposing view-points, and at the same time co-opt seemingly contrasting vantage points." The eleven essays are grouped in three large sections. Section I, "Discipline, Discourse, Canon," contains three essays by Zhang Longxi, David Palumbo-Liu, and Mark Francis that offer metacritiques ofthe discipline of Chinese comparative literature and, together with the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0887
Print ISSN
0195-7678
Pages
pp. 157-160
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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