Analyzing the Ideological Dilemma in the Debate of “Anti-Essentialism”

BY | 07-12-2018

Chinese Journal of Literary Criticism

No.2, 2018


Analyzing the Ideological Dilemma in the Debate of “Anti-Essentialism”



Liu Zhuo


The debate of “anti-essentialism” has been important in the field of literary theory since the start of the 21st century. A variety of reflections have been concentrated around understanding the nature of “literature” and reflecting the discourse construction of literary theories during the second half of the 20th century. These reconstructions of literary discourse systems is to a large extent confined into “the essence in literature” and how to understand “the essence of literature.” This article focuses on the first stage of the debate and takes Tao Dongfeng’s stance as the entry point, figuring out the development process and ideological resource of a series of discourse expressions on “essentialism” and “anti-essentialism,” and attempting to point out that it is caught into an ideological dilemma while reflecting the political interference of discourse construction.