Sheng Ning, Professor of Institute of Foreign Languages, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, came to our college to give lectures.
On the afternoon of November 6, 2018, in the lecture hall of Guilinyang Foreign Languages College, Professor Sheng Ning from Institute of Foreign Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was invited to give an academic report entitled "Theoretical Travel: Thirty Years of Western Literary Theory in China" to our teachers and students. The report was presided over by Professor Chen Yihua of our college.
Professor Sheng Ning's academic report mainly contained three parts: the disenchantment of western literary theory, the Enlightenment of western literary theory and how western literary theory can be used for us. First of all, Professor Sheng Ning reviewed the background of the spread of Western literary theory in the world and the process of its introduction to China. Professor Sheng mentioned that in his book The Travel of Theory, Said stated that "once ideas and theories are formed, they will flow from one place to another; from one period to another. And the flow process will have many positive effects.” Professor Sheng believed that the research done by Chinese academia is insufficient for "the influence of theory on flow". Then, Professor Sheng traced back to the period of reform and opening up in China. When interfacing with western ideological trends, the Chinese academia seemed to be suffering from "aphasia", and only western literary theory was discussed during that time. Professor Sheng quoted Marx's statement: "The weapon of criticism can not replace the criticism of weapon ... Material power must be destroyed by material power”, which emphasizes the mutual transformation of material and spiritual. It further pointed out that western literary theory is not a critical tool of critics (servant's servant). The so-called western literary theory is not a simple literary theory, instead, it should include such aspects as "modernity", "human, language and reality", "reconstruction of humanities", "interaction of global culture", "rethinking of social attributes", "relocation between human and nature" in its researches. Literary criticism theory is not explanatory, and it is not only to use theory to help interpret literary works, because the reading and interpretation of literary works rely more on the reader's knowledge structure, professional accomplishment and life experiences. In addition, Professor Sheng believed that any literary criticism has a certain political tendency. Therefore, we should not simply copy western literary theory, yet systematize our own literary theory (such as Wen Xin Diao Long) according to our own political, cultural standards and conscious cultural standpoint, and interact with each other in the same space-time and latitude according to the established western discourse. Only by highlighting our differences, which helps make up for the vacancies in the existing western theories can our theories be accepted by the western literary theory system, and then the voice of Chinese scholars can be heard worldwide.
Professor Sheng has a thorough grasp of theoretical knowledge and thorough research. His profound knowledge and kindness impressed the teachers and students present. After the lecture, Professor Sheng interacted with teachers and students, and everyone benefited a lot.
Speaker's Brief Introduction: Sheng Ning, male, researcher of Institute of Foreign Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Doctoral Tutor of English and American Language and Literature; former Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Literature Review, Judge Member of National Philosophy and Social Sciences Planning Project, Vice-President of American Literature Research Association of China, Vice-President of English Literature Research Association of Chinese Foreign Literature Society, and Concurrently Director of Professor; representative works: American Literature in the 20th Century, New Historicism, Literature: Appreciation and Reflection (Papers Collection), Humanistic Confusion and Reflection: Criticism of Western Postmodernism, Modernism, Modern Discourse - Re-examination of Modernism (papers collection), etc.