The sudden emergence of ethical literary criticism in the twenty-first-century Chinese critical field is said to have emanated from Chinese critics’ eagerness to cure their “theory aphasia” and the Western “ethical turn” promoted by Wayne C. Booth. In response to the Chinese “theory aphasia” and Western “theory recession”—or perhaps even Western “ theory death”—during the early twenty-first century, Nie Zhenzhao constructs a relatively self-contained theoretical system of ethical literary criticism, with “ethical selection,” “ethical taboos,” “ethical lines,” “ethical knots,” and the “Sphinx factor” being the primary concepts of this approach. During the past fifteen years from 2004 to 2018, Nie's ethical literary criticism has been widely accepted in China and other countries, despite some queries from critical scholars. Introduction or interpretation of Nie's ethical literary criticism becomes indispensable for the world to have a better understanding of the contemporary situation of literary theories in China.

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