VIRGINIA WOOLF IN CHINA AND TAIWAN: RECEPTION AND INFLUENCE
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Virginia Woolf's reputation as a writer, critic, and writer has long traveled far and wide. While her popularity in Europe has been well documented, her reception in the Chinese-speaking world--which enjoys the largest population on earth--has been little discussed. This study represents an effort to trace the reception and influence of Woolf and her work in China and Taiwan, which share similar cultures and languages but have been separated by socio-political ideologies, back to as early as the 1920s. The discussion is temporally divided into four periods, from the pre-separation period before 1949, the pre-open-policy period before 1978, the pre-21st century period, through the most recent decade in the very beginning of the twenty-first century. Each period is shown to demonstrate its unique characteristics. The three decades before the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan enjoyed a privilege of direct contact or correspondence with Woolf herself and her contemporaries. Such a privilege was nevertheless limited to the elite few, which in turn limited Woolf's overall reception. The next period witnessed a Woolf never so forlorn in the Chinese-speaking worlds. In China, she was totally silenced along with her modernist comrades. Her reception in Taiwan appeared somewhat better but was still hardly commensurate with the efforts introducing her and her contemporaries. The last two decades of the twentieth century saw her reception on the rise in both Taiwan and China. Their somewhat different readerships, however, distinguished the ways in which she had been received: while Taiwan was warm and quick to notice her social concerns, China was more critical in attitude and focused more on her literary theories. During the 2000s, Woolf's reception is argued to have matured to such an extent that it turns into influences as evidenced in the various artistic creations in response to her works and the various appropriations of her image as a feminist writer. From the sporadic budding in the first half of the twentieth century to its full blossom in the last decade, Woolf's reception is examined against its receiving environment and argued to vary with different factors at different times.