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The Empty Signified: The Tribulation of a Chinese in China and a Discussion on Imagology

Wang Qian

In the study of exotic image in literature, people tend to take the exotic as real description of reality. However, in some works the exotic image is likely to be "empty" image invented by the author. It is derived from the inherent self-sufficiency of the literary text as a symbolic system rather than reality. The Chinese image in Verne's novel The tribulation of a Chinese in China is romantic fiction based on rationalism.In this novel, history and culture of China are suspended and Chinabecomesa symbol of the "rational-irrational" deep narrative structure. This is a literary image that works on the semiotic level rather than on the realistic level of historical and cultural dimensions.