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Mark Twain in China$
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Selina Lai-Henderson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789646

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789646.001.0001

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Lighting Out for the Pacific

Lighting Out for the Pacific

Mark Twain’s Posthumous Journey Across China

(p.75) Chapter 4 Lighting Out for the Pacific
Mark Twain in China

Selina Lai-Henderson

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the socio-historical and political background in China into which Twain was first introduced. Brought to Chinese readers by Liang Qichao during his exile in Japan in late Qing China, Twain’s work indispensably contributed to the early process of transnationalism in the Chinese literary community across China, Japan, and the US. Huckleberry Finn, in particular, was used to revolutionize literature, language, and society in China as the nation was undergoing a series of westernization reforms and as a political tool during the Cold War era. Nevertheless, the travels of Huck Finn from the Chinese Mainland to Hong Kong and Taiwan during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) suggests that translating Twain’s work in these places functioned in part as a means of distancing themselves from communism and Chinese civilization as it was being constructed in the Mainland at the time.

Keywords:   Liang Qichao, late Qing Empire, Huckleberry Finn, Cultural Revolution, Cold War, communism, transnationalism, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan

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