Bringing the Monkey King to the World

A Case Study of Arthur Waley’s Monkey

  • Ji Hao College of the Holy Cross
Keywords: Xiyou ji, Arthur Waley, translation, reception


By the end of 1930s, Waley had already established his reputation as a sinologist and an outstanding translator of Chinese poetry. Under what circumstances did Waley decide to translate the novel Xiyou ji into English? How does Monkey connect to social and literary realities during his time? If we follow Pascale Casanova’s application of Abram de Swaan’s “floral figuration” to her discussion on the literary world, how is this Chinese novel of the periphery linked to the center through Waley’s translation and other “cosmopolitan intermediaries”? Furthermore, if world literature, as David Damrosch proposes, is “an elliptical refraction of national literatures,” in what ways does Monkey respond to the tension between the receiving culture and its national context? By addressing those questions, this paper seeks to demonstrate Waley’s multiple relationship with Xiyou ji and highlight various factors that contribute to the canonization of the novel in a larger space of world literature.


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Author Biography

Ji Hao, College of the Holy Cross

Ji Hao is currently an associate professor of Chinese at the College of the Holy Cross. He has published a book monograph The Reception of Du Fu (712-770) and His Poetry in Imperial China (Brill, 2017) and several articles on the sixteenth-century Chinese novel Xiyou ji.

How to Cite
Hao, J. (2021). Bringing the Monkey King to the World: A Case Study of Arthur Waley’s Monkey. Archiv orientální, 89(2), 237-259.