Chinese Influence on American Literature: Ha Jin and The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai as A Case Study

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Li Zhenling


The influence of Chinese literature on Western literature happens in many ways. This paper takes one of the most famous Chinese migrant writers, Ha Jin, and his The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (2019) as a case study to examine if and how Chinese migration literature has played its role in exerting Chinese influence on Western literature. As a Chinese migrant writer residing in America and writing in English, Ha Jin is endowed with dual cultural identity. In other words, he belongs to Chinese culture and American culture at the same time, and his works can be regarded as both Chinese literature and American literature, where the two overlap each other. Through Ha Jin and his migrant writing, Chinese literature is structurally written into American literature and becomes part of American literature. Before The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai, there was no comprehensive English biography in Li Bai. If reading the book carefully, it is not difficult to find that Ha Jin follows the Chinese literary tradition of “诗言志” (poetry expressing will) to map the life of Li Bai, which can be seen as the endeavor of bringing Chinese aesthetics into American literature.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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