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Sun Jian, Fudan University

Keynote speaker

The Reception of Nordic Literature in China since the Beginning of the 20th Century

Abstract: My presentation will focus on the reception of Nordic authors and their works in China from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. It mainly consists of three sections.

Section One will discuss how the Nordic writers which as Ibsen, HC Andersen and others helped to speed up the process of modernity in China with their modern ideas in their plays, fairytales and novels in a most dynamic period in China when the young intellectuals rose up in the two important movements, namely, the New Culture Movement and the May 4th Movement in their efforts to overthrow the feudalistic system and establish a brand new society.

Section Two will examine the reception of Nordic literature in the early years after the founding of New China in 1949 when the authors from the Nordic countries and their works were selected to serve the political purposes. The appropriation of those writers reflects the political situation, strict censorship and rigid ideological control at that time.

Section Three will examine the revived interest in Nordic literature in China since the adoption of the open-door policy in the 1980s. The translation and publication of the Nordic authors and their works have flourished. Complete works of Ibsen, HC Andersen, Strindberg and a lot more other authors have been translated and published. Nordic literary festivals have been held and many poets, dramatists and novelists have been invited to lecture in Chinese colleges and universities. Nordic theatre and movies are very popular among young people and with the intensified cultural and academic exchanges, large numbers of academic papers and books have been published.

In conclusion, Nordic literature has played an important role in the modernization of China and it will continue to contribute to the cross-cultural exchange between the Nordic countries and China in this age of globalization.


Sun Jian is a Professor of English, Vice Chair of the Academic Committee in the College of Foreign Languages and Literature of Fudan University, Director of the Nordic Literature Research Institute and the Multi-language Centre at Fudan. He has edited and co-edited in recent years books on Nordic Literature which include Nordic Literature Studies Across Cultures (Fudan University Press 2017), Hans Christian Andersen in China (Southern Denmark University Press 2014), Folk Tradition in Modern Society (Turku University and Fudan University Press 2013), and Ibsen Across Cultures (Oslo University and Fudan University Press 2012). He is currently a member of the International Ibsen Committee, University of Oslo. 

Earlier Event: June 16
Later Event: June 16