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Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Front Liter Stud Chin    2013, Vol. 7 Issue (4) : 541-550
research-article |
The Unfinished Text or Literature as Palimpsest towards Lu Xun and His Relevance to the Present*
Wolfgang Kubin()
Department for Overseas Chinese Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing 100089, China; China Institute for Orient- and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, D-53113 Bonn, Germany
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The fact that Lu Xun is no longer regarded as the most important Chinese writer of the 20th century raises many questions. Is there only one benchmark for good literature, or are there different norms? To what extent are these norms dictated by the market? Questions like these relate to the issue of evaluation. Is literature still evaluated according to the internationally recognized definition of “modernity” that prevailed before World War II, or is it unfair to judge contemporary writers according to standards that dominated before 1949? The reason why contemporary Chinese literature (after 1949) might sometimes seem somehow lacking in comparison with modern Chinese literature (1912–49) might be found in historical changes in the role of the narrator in the novel. Literature after 1949 often returns to the omnipresent narrator, whose comments can be taken for granted. But, in the works of Lu Xun, the reader is often confronted with a narrator who is not reliable. In this way, the literature becomes ambivalent, and it is precisely this ambivalence that makes the literature “modern,” as the reader has to decide which voice he or she is going to trust. It is also ambivalence which turns a narrating “I” into a fictional character, which cannot be equated with the (real) author.

Corresponding Authors: Wolfgang Kubin,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2013
 Cite this article:   
Wolfgang Kubin. The Unfinished Text or Literature as Palimpsest towards Lu Xun and His Relevance to the Present*[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2013, 7(4): 541-550.
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