Anticipating World Literature in Socialist China
The chapter traces the visions of political and aesthetic progress that informed literary translation and notions of world literature in socialist China. The first part examines 1950s debates on literary translation; the second details editorial practices at the journal Yiwen / Shijie wenxue (Translations / World literature). The third part reconstructs the formation of the system of “internal distribution,” through which foreign literature circulated among elite readers from the late 1950s to the 1980s. The chapter situates Chinese socialist literary culture within a global network of literary exchanges stretching from Cuba to France and from India to the Congo, showing how diverse regions were identified as more or less advanced—politically or literarily—at specific historical junctures. It thus unveils the crucial role of translators in promoting the shift from socialist internationalism to literary cosmopolitanism in the late 1970s.
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