Milton's Satan matters in the cultural life of China because his fighting spirit has inspired the Chinese struggle for national liberation in the past and because Satan as a poetic figure of moral reality created by a “radical humanist” is still instructive for Chinese atheist readers. Significantly, Lu Xun interpreted Milton and Satan from the perspective of atheism in the early twentieth century. Later readers, conspicuously Jin Fashen, an important Milton translator and a student of William Empson, have inherited what I call the “Lu Xun tradition.” This article outlines the vicissitudes of Milton's Satan in China to show the character's contemporary significance in the country.

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