Web novels as vehicles of cultural transfer across the globe. Re – negotiations of cultural histories between East and West

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Annette Simonis


Web fiction is becoming increasingly popular. Since the beginning of the 21st century the global impact of web novels has steadily expanded. The serial form of publishing proves to be most attractive while the transposition into various media forms also seems to enhance the worldwide spreadability and dispersion of narratives. It is hardly surprising that the internet publishing form is favourable to cultural exchange stimulating the circulation of narratives around the globe. The production and translation of Chinese web novels and their enthusiastic reception in the West (U.S., Canada, U.K., Spain, Germany, Russia etc.) may serve as a prominent example for this transnational and transcultural dynamics of contemporary reading on the web. Since Chinese web novels are being read by millions of overseas fans, mostly in English translations, they have significantly been termed „the country's most successful cultural export“. In how far do the international readers‘ interests encompass Chinese history and culture and to what extent are the publications in question aimed at a transnational global concept of social interaction beyond the limitations of a specific cultural heritage? What exactly are the literary charac­teristics and requirements likely to encourage a fast proliferation across the globe? These reflections are to be examined in detail with reference to different sub – genres of the web novel and the dynamics of their translation and reception processes.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Imagining Cultural Transfers – Poetics of Cultural Contact, Circulation and Exch