Comparative Literature

profile image for Dr Xiaofan Amy Li

Dr Xiaofan Amy Li

Lecturer in Comparative Literature


Office: Cornwallis West CG33

Office Hours: On research leave in Spring Term 2019


I joined the Comparative Literature Department at Kent in September 2016. After completing undergraduate studies in French and Art History at Edinburgh University and École du Louvre, Paris, my interests turned to Comparative Literature and I earned my M.Phil and Ph.D (2014) at Queens' College, Cambridge University. From 2013-16 I was Junior Research Fellow in Comparative Literature & Translation at St Anne's College, Oxford University. Prior to coming to Kent, I taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and SOAS (2012-14). In 2019, I will be Visiting Scholar at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.

My research spans French and Chinese literatures, with a focus on comparisons and exchanges between France and China/East Asia. I have a strong interest in cross-cultural, cross-period, and transnational comparisons, paying particular attention to conceptual and aesthetic dialogues as well as questions of reception between the ancient and modern. My first book Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi (Oxford: Legenda, 2015) discusses these issues by re-reading two sinophilic French writers and the dreamlike classical Chinese text Zhuangzi through their poetic and philosophical encounter. Currently I am finishing a co-authored book entitled Translation and Literature in East Asia: Between Visibility and Invisibility (forthcoming, Routledge), and am working on my second monograph, which aims to rethink comparative criticism and literary imagination through the idea of play. I also have a keen interest in transnational avant-gardes, Francophone and Chinese literatures in a global context, text and image studies, cultural representation, theories and methods of Comparative and World Literature. Please see my articles and book chapters for these topics.

In 2018 I started serving as co-editor of the new books series Routledge Studies in East Asian Translation. Previously (from 2014-15), I edited the Oxford Comparative Criticism & Translation Review (OCCTR). I am a member of the European Association for Chinese Studies and of the Society for French Studies, and am external associate of the Oxford Comparative Criticism & Translation research programme, for which I was co-ordinator in 2015.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Li, X. (2015). Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi: Rationality, Cosmology and Ethics. [Online]. Oxford: Legenda. Available at:
Li, X. (2018). A Distant Dream: Balthus, Henri Michaux, and the Chinese Aesthetic Tradition. Word & Image [Online] 34:281-296. Available at:
Li, X. (2018). Blood, Cannibalistic Desire, and Embodying the Other: Artaud's and Leiris's Anthropological Encounters. Modern Language Notes 133:1026-1051.
Li, X. (2018). Playful You (?) in the Zhuangzi and Six Dynasties Literati Writing. Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies [Online] 8:1-28. Available at:
Li, X. (2017). Introduction: From the Exotic to the Autoexotic. PMLA [Online] 132:392-396. Available at:
Li, X. (2017). Eating One's Way through Cultures: Antonin Artaud's Autoexoticist Diets and Epistemologies. PMLA [Online] 132:434-441. Available at:
Li, X. (2016). The Abject Heterotopia: Le Città Invisibili and 'Junkspace'. Forum for Modern Language Studies [Online] 52:70-80. Available at:
Li, X. (2015). Temporality in the Construction of Comparative Interpretation. Comparative Critical Studies [Online] 12:235. Available at:
Li, X. (2015). The Notion of Originality and Degrees of Faithfulness in Translating Classical Chinese: Comparing Translations of the Liezi. Early China [Online] 38:109-128. Available at:
Li, X. (2012). How Much of a Chimera is Comparability? Reflections on Comparative Studies in Sinology. Dissertation Reviews.
Book section
Li, X. (2017). When Do Different Literatures Become Comparable? - The Vague Borders of Comparability and Incomparability. in: Reynolds, M. et al. eds. Minding Borders: Resilient Divisions in Literature, the Body and the Academy. Oxford: Legenda.
Li, X. (2016). Preserving Life Force: Artaud and Zhuangzi on the body. in: Ferreboeuf, R., Noble, F. and Plunkett, T. eds. Preservation, Radicalism, and the Avant-Garde Canon. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 153-169. Available at:
Li, X. (2017). Book Review: Intercultural Masquerade: New Orientalism, New Occidentalism, Old Exoticism, eds. Regis Machart et al. (Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer 2016) ISBN 9783662470558 Machart, R., Dervin, F. and Gao, M. eds. Oxford Comparative Criticism & Translation Review [Online]:1-2. Available at:
Li, X. (2017). Book Review Marcus, L., Bradshaw, D. and Roach, R. eds. Forum for Modern Language Studies [Online] 53:376-376. Available at:
Li, X. (2016). Book Review of THOMAS MICHAEL: In the Shadows of the Dao: Laozi, the Sage, and the Daodejing. (SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture.) xx, 311 pp. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015. $90. ISBN 978 1 438 45897 7. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies [Online] 79:682-684. Available at:
Edited journal
Li, X.A. ed. (2017). The Exotic and the Autoexotic. PMLA [Online] 132. Available at:
Li, X. (2020). Pascal Quignard as Sinophile: Recreating Chinese Antiquity in Contemporary France. Comparative Literature.
Li, X. (2019). East Asian Francophone Writers and Racialised Aesthetics. Esprit Createur.
Total publications in KAR: 18 [See all in KAR]
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I teach modules at both undergraduate and graduate levels on Comparative Literature theory, World Literature, ludic literature, travel/exilic literature. I also co-teach modules in French and Asian Studies.

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Comparative Literature, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email the department

Last Updated: 14/01/2019