The best way to conference proceedings by Francis Academic Press

Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press
Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press

The Construction of Chinese Image of Western Centralism in Maugham's the Painted Veil in the Context of Western Culture

Download as PDF

DOI: 10.25236/soshu.2020.106


Lei Zhang

Corresponding Author

Lei Zhang


The image of China in Western literature is a magnificent landscape. Maugham is a well-known British writer in the 20th century. Extensive foreign subject matter is a major feature of his work. He has traveled to China for several months and has written many novels involving Chinese subjects. The novel The Painted Veil is one of them. There are a lot of descriptions of China in The Painted Veil. The Chinese image in the work is not only a poor and backward colony, but also a paradise image that purifies the soul. By analyzing the Chinese image in Maugham's writing and the reasons for it, the author finds Maugham's ambivalent attitude and prejudice towards China. This article uses comparative literary image theory and Said's Orientalism theory. The contradictory Chinese images in The Painted Veil reflects the complex attitude of Maugham to Chinese and Western cultural exchanges. Furthermore, it reveals the archetype characteristics of western literature in constructing Chinese image. Image archetype features through a deep analysis of the image of China in Maugham's writing. We must adopt an objective and fair attitude in the treatment of heterogeneous cultural exchanges, while abandoning the sense of national superiority and national prejudice, and seeking a true balance between different nationalities and cultures.


Maugham, Chinese image, Western centralism, Orientalism, Construction