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Is there a Chinese subject in Chinese Shakespears? Reading Chinese Shakespeares: Two centuries of cultural exchange

This is a review essay on Alexander C. Y. Huang’s book Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange. The global traveling of “Shakespeare” and the globalization of Shakespeare studies correlate to the advance of Chinese modernity which was very much characterized by crosscultural exchanges between China and the West. Prompted by Huang’s book, the essay examines the cross-cultural issue of “Chinese Shakespeares” in three interrelated levels: “China” in Shakespeare, Shakespeare in China, and China and Shakespeare. After exploring the colonial legacy in Shakespearean studies relating to China and Shakespeare’s reception in modern China, the paper applauds Huang’s innovative attempt to go beyond the “Shakespeare in China” model by offering a fresh look into the cross-cultural relation between China and the West surrounding the traveling of “Shakespeare” over the past two centuries. In the meantime, it also highlights the problematic of Chinese subjectivity in Chinese Shakespeare scholarship, and in Chinese cross-cultural studies in general.

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