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Title: In Others’ Words: A Study of Italian Quotations in the Comparative Method of Qian Zhongshu
Keywords: Qian Zhongshu
Comparative Literature
Issue Date: 19-Apr-2012
Abstract: Chinese comparative literature has a great representative in the contemporary scholar and writer Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998). His comparative method tends to escape every categorization and his massive use of quotations in seven different foreign languages, main characteristic of his style, creates a collage of literary motives and genres that constitutes a fertile field for analysis to grasp the general principles of world literature, as outlined by the author. Chinese scholars have established a discipline, the Qian Xue (Studies on Qian), that since the eighties of last century researches on Qian Zhongshu’s achievements and methodology and that plays an important role to get a full understanding of the author’s approach to writing and literature. The contribution of western scholarship is nevertheless a due and necessary investigation in the work of such a complex and varied literary production and a step that needs to be further developed, since western literature constitutes a great part of Qian’s thematic choices. The number of languages involved in the analysis and the huge number of cross references in Qian’s work require a set of skills of which this work tries to be a tiny, yet necessary, part, analysing the contribution of Italian literature to the comparative method of Qian Zhongshu. The work tries to outline the threads that move Qian Zhongshu in the choice of authors and works that constitute, in quotation, the core of his method. As in a case study, through a punctual and meticulous analysis of all the Italian quotations that appear in Qian’s literary essays, the present study tries to answer questions on the necessity of such a consistent use of quotations and on the role that foreign literatures, with a focus on the Italian one, have in the definition of a comparative method that seems to be all-inclusive and difficult to grasp. A deductive method is here aimed at in order to delineate the comparative method and the general principles that guide the author through the study and analysis of single quotations. To seize an understanding of the principles that lead global literatures in an enhancement of mutual comprehension between countries and peoples seems a desirable yet unreal desire: Qian Zhongshu, through his use of quotations to establish a dialogue between different historical epochs and distant spatial settings, wants to demonstrate that this desire is, after all, attainable.
Research interests: Modern Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature, Chinese Language Teaching

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Tiziana Lioi_ PhD dissertation_In Others' Words- A Study of Italian QUotations in the Comparative Method of Qian Zhongshu.pdfTesi di dottorato in Civiltà, Culture e Società dell'Asia e dell'Africa2.31 MBAdobe PDF

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