Universality, heterogeneity, and worlding: meanings of comparison in Chinese comparative literature

Peina Zhuang, Dian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Comparison, either in the methodological or ontological sense, is the soul and the operational principle of comparative literature. Its meaning, however, has not always been transparent nor unchanging in the Chinese context. Tracing its signifying trajectory from “universality” to “heterogeneity,” the paper offers a mapping of historicity and culturality that underscores the Chinese theories of literature and the function of comparative literature as a discipline and as an instrument of intercultural communication. The authors further argue that the discourse of comparison, as a way of worlding, reflects a desire of Chinese comparatists to engage the world and yet to retain a distinctive theoretical space and discourse, in which the markings of a Chinese school can be inscribed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Comparative literature
  • Heterogeneity
  • Universality
  • Variation theory
  • Worlding medio-translatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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