Abstract

Based on Franco Moretti's conception of distant reading, I propose that world literature is not an object, but is rather an act or event that is temporally and spatially constituted, destined to undergo a process of changes and transformations in different local contexts. World literature should address at least three major issues: first, the otherness of the foreign author or his texts in local context; second, the inventiveness of the specific narratives in the local writings; third, the creative power of the works for their readers and the society they live in. In this article, Ibsen in China is studied from a new perspective of event in world literature. The focus of the analysis is on the event of female protagonists reading A Doll's House in modern Chinese novels. Questions analyzed include: Who are those people reading A Doll's House in modern Chinese novels? How do the Chinese female protagonists perform as Nora and fight for their independence and freedom? What impact do the fictional works have on the New Culture Movement in China? Moreover, how does this study of Ibsen and Nora in China provoke new reflections on world literature?

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