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Chinese Literature in the World

An Interview with Ban Wang

By Ping Zhu

Stanford Professor Ban Wang has written on a wide range of subjects from early Chinese modernism to contemporary literature and beyond. His work has had a strong influence on the field of modern Chinese literature. Here, in conversation with CLT Deputy Editor Ping Zhu, Wang discusses his latest research projects, his first book, The Sublime Figure of History, and his long-term engagement with the work of Walter Benjamin.

Ping Zhu: Professor Wang, first allow me to thank you on behalf of Chinese Literature Today for your willingness to take this interview with us. I hear that you have just returned from a research trip in Asia. Could you tell us a bit about your new research project?

Ban Wang: Thanks to generous support from National Chung Hsing University, I stayed at that campus for three months last year during my sabbatical in Taichung. I completed a book by writing new chapters and revising old papers. Tentatively entitled China in the World: Geopolitics, Aesthetics, and Visions of World Order, the book addresses the ways Chinese thinkers and writers have engaged and interacted with the international system of nation-states since the late nineteenth century. . .

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World Literature in Transformation

By Horace Engdahl

True “world literature,” according to Nobel committee member Horace Engdahl, will never be a common canon accepted by all, but a field of exchange and exploration. For Engdahl, the Nobel Prize serves as harbinger of such a community of interest across the globe and in the case of the work of its two Chinese-language laureates—Gao Xingjian and Mo Yan. Engdahl’s lecture, given at the University of Nanjing, November 2, 2014, invites international readers to explore the complex relationships between international genres and Chinese traditions.

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