Dialogism in the Mutual Learning of Chinese and Western Literary Theories

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 3, 2022


Dialogism in the Mutual Learning of Chinese and Western Literary Theories 



Zeng Jun


Dialogue with Western literary theories is an important aspect of the transformation of the discourse of Chinese literary theory and of the building of a discourse system of literary theory with Chinese characteristics. Drawing on Bakhtin’s dialogism, Chinese literary theory is committed to establishing an independent, equal and two-way dialogue relationship between the East and the West. Franҫois Julien, on the other hand, offers a paradigm for dealing with the question of “China and the West” from a Western standpoint, which includes “penser d'un dehors (La Chine), entretiens d'extrême-occident” (thinking from the outside \[China\], talks from the far West), “le détour et l'accès” (detour and access), and “l’écart et l’entre” (space and between) etc. However, these two kinds of dialogues between China and the West are too idealistic. His paradigm cannot overcome the inequality in such dialogues, nor can it solve the realistic issues between China and the West, which include both similarities and differences, and are closely related to each other. Therefore, we need to establish the consciousness of being “in the world” and transcend the dichotomy of “China and the West.” An academic tendency of overcoming and transcending cultural centrism has emerged in Chinese and Western literary and cultural studies, and in the field of Chinese literary theory, efforts are also being made to identify a new “Chinese view of the world” based on the changing relationship between China and the world. Being “in the world” provides a unique position from within for the dialogue between China and the West. The position “in the middle” is one that includes “between,” not a substitute for “between.” The external diversity of the “pluralistic network,” the internal diversity of “Chinese learning in Western learning” and “Western learning in Chinese learning,” the unfinished nature of the “double variation of Westernization and the application of Western learning,” the “dialogue between China and the West, and between the ancient and the modern” with “present-day China” as the academic position, constitutes the methodological basis for the possibility of the dialogue between China and the West “in the middle.”