Multiple Dimensions of Keyword Research in Literary Theory

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.8, 2019


Multiple Dimensions of Keyword Research in Literary Theory



Gao Yu


As a new academic paradigm, literary theory keywords are an important focus for the study and construction of literary theory. Such keywords must be key concepts; words that do not fall under literary theory or are not conceptual are not keywords. The study of keywords in this context aims to analyze the richness and complexity of such concepts and thus conduct in-depth research of the relevant thought in literary theory. This is essentially different from lexicography which draws conclusions on the meanings of words on the basis of a corpus. This research attaches importance to the diachronic investigation of concepts in literary theory; it attends to the generation, evolution and developmental process of conceptual meanings, rather than simply juxtaposing lexical meanings in a de-temporalized setting. The terms, concepts, and categories in Western literary theory will inevitably change their meanings and connotations when they enter the Chinese system. Keyword research in contemporary Chinese literary theory should emphasize the “foreignization” and “domestication” of Western concepts in the Chinese context, as well as the reactivation and development of the concepts of ancient Chinese literary theory. The research on keywords in literary theory is interdisciplinary, and needs to draw on related disciplines for collaborative innovation and development.