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Chinese National Revitalization and Social Darwinism in Lu Xun’s Work

  • Author / Creator
    Yuanhai, Zhu
  • This thesis explores decolonizing nationalism in early 20th century China through its literary embodiment. The topic in the thesis is Lu Xun, a canonical modern Chinese realist whose work is usually and widely discussed in scholarly works on Chinese literature and Chinese history in this period. Meanwhile, late 19th century and early 20th century, as the only semi-post-colonial period in China, has been investigated by many scholars via the theoretical lens of post-colonialism. The intellectual experience in China during this period is usually featured by the encounters between Eastern and Western intellectual worlds, the translation and appropriation of Western texts in the domestic Chinese intellectual world. In this view, Lu Xun’s work if often explored through his individualism which is in debt to Nietzsche, as well as other western romanticists and existentialists. My research purpose is to reinvestigate several central topics in Lu Xun’s thought, like the diagnosis of the Chinese national character, the post-colonial trauma, the appropriation of Nietzsche and the critique of imperialism and colonization. These factors are intertwined with each other in Lu Xun’s work and embodied the historical situation in which the Chinese decolonizing nationalism is being bred and developed. Furthermore, by showing how Lu Xun’s appropriation of Nietzsche falls short of but also challenges its original purport, the thesis demonstrates the critique of imperialism that Chinese decolonizing nationalism initiates, as well as the aftermath which it brings to modern China. In the conclusion, I argue that Chinese nationalism, as a historical continuum which ranges from the late 19th century until now, in fact falls short of the blueprint of it imagined by Lu Xun, in which an independent modern nation is achieved based upon the realization of the liberty and dignity of each of its subjects. On the contrary, the result is that the material improvement of it conceals its inside tyranny.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3BK1712H
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Comparative Literature
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • S. Ilnytzkyj, Oleh (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Varsava, Jerry (English/Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Fried, Daniel (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies/Eastern Asian Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • S. Ilnytzkyj, Oleh (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Ruétalo, Victoria (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Sywenky, Irene (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Fried, Daniel (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies/Eastern Asian Studies)
    • Varsava, Jerry (English/Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)