Chapter Seven Women and Gender in Modern Chinese Drama
In cross-cultural literary influence, the recipient culture’s capacity and specific ways of assimilating another culture are most obviously exhibited. In this way, literary influence can be treated as an index to the interaction between the two national literatures, as well as their cultures. It is also in literary influence, or assimilation, that the recipient culture’s social and cultural needs can be seen. Just as what an interpreter of another culture does in his or her work, the Chinese reception of Ibsen necessarily started with a model based on the traditional Chinese approach to literature, which, whether Confucian or Daoist, defined literature according to its pragmatic or metaphysical functions. This functional notion of literature played a significant role in the initial Chinese response to Ibsen’s plays. Most early Chinese Ibsen critics and dramatists considered Ibsen a social reformer. Even when they treated Ibsen as an artist, as they sometimes did, they emphasized his plays that have moral and social dimensions in their themes.