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Abstract

In his article "China and the Politics of Cross–Cultural Representation in Interwar European Fiction" Carles Prado-Fonts analyzes Joan Crespi's La ciutat de la por (The City of Fear, 1930) to illustrate the varied representations of China in interwar Europe. In the 1920s and 1930s, a plurality of views on China and the Chinese people became widespread across different parts of Europe, mainly shaped by English, French, and German representations. Contradictory images of China coexisted in literature, thought, and popular culture. Crespi's work exemplifies these contradictions: China appears as both an attainable reality and an unreachable fantasy, two tropes that prevailed in Catalan society after having been adapted from the European imagery. The novel responds to these contradictory discourses by launching a radical critique of Western modernity imposed on China. This article argues that representing China from Catalonia (or from the rest of Spain) not only implied the import of data and knowledge from European sources but also the transculturation of formal aspects and a subordination of agency. By showing how difficult it was to imagine China from the periphery of Europe without the mediation of these European centers, this article rethinks the politics of cross-cultural circulation in a noncolonizer, noncolonized context.