, 36:397 | Cite as

Poetic wolves and environmental imagination: representations of wolf in recent Chinese literature

  • Chengzhou He


During the last decade or so, the literary writings that portray the lives of the wolves and their relationship with the humans sprouted and prospered in China. These wolf writings all give very vivid and appealing portraits of wolves, their wild existence, their character, their relationship with men, and their role in the ecosystem. They have shaped our understanding of and attitudes towards animals and nature, which is of great value to the ongoing building of ecological civilization in China as well as in the world. In general, the Chinese wolf literature has inevitably been influenced and inspired by the long and rich traditions of the wolf myths and literature in the West, particularly those works of Jack London, Rudyard Kipling and other Western writers since the end of the 19th century. With due attention paid to the influence of the Western wolf literature, this essay will mainly analyze the three most important Chinese wolf novels—The Wolf Child, Remembering Wolves and The Wolf Totem, both separately and with reference to one another. It argues that the representations of wolves in them subvert the stereotypical hostile images of wolf in traditional Chinese culture, bring about fresh reflections on the cultural and spiritual symptoms of (post)modernity and globalization, and finally lead to a growing ecological consciousness and the call for balance between humans and nonhumans.


Wolf Environment Chinese literature Ecological civilization 

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Foreign StudiesNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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