The Work of Art in the Age of Transnational Reproduction: Form and Intertextuality in Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers and A Lover’s Discourse

Tickell, Alex (2023). The Work of Art in the Age of Transnational Reproduction: Form and Intertextuality in Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers and A Lover’s Discourse. Studies in the Novel, 55(1) (In Press).

Abstract

This article analyses two of Xiaolu Guo’s works: her debut novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (2007), and her most recent fiction, at the time of writing, A Lover’s Discourse (2020), and redresses a critical bias in readings of Guo’s creative engagement with language and translation by concentrating instead on Guo’s use of fragmentary ‘lexicographic’ form. I suggest that continental philosophy and critical theory provide an unexpected set of formal templates and intertexts for her work. I argue further that form and inter-textual suggestion allows Guo to play with ideas of synonymy, duplication, and concealed meaning, to articulate a sophisticated economic and political critique of her own situation as a migrant cultural producer in the global anglophone creative economy.

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