This article examines the question of reinventing Chinese antiquity in the works of the contemporary French writer Pascal Quignard. It focuses on three aspects of Quignard’s Chinese-inspired works: his rewriting of ancient Chinese texts, his views on the idea of language via classical Chinese language and thought, and his recreation of Chinese antiquity via a radical contemporization of the past. This examination demonstrates that Quignard poses important questions about cultural reception and appropriation, especially as regards the problematic relation between sinophilia, Orientalism, and the reception of antiquity. Finally, the article proposes a nuanced view of Quignard’s sinophilia that recognizes both its merits and drawbacks. It concludes by arguing that despite the pitfalls of cultural misunderstanding and misrepresentation, Quignard spells out the conceptual death of French Orientalism in his refusal to fetishize Chinese antiquity and attests to a tendency in contemporary French literature and thought to creatively recycle foreign cultures and revise one’s understanding through the other.

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