The aim of this essay is to point out the characteristic traits of the new Chinese literature as a “specific interliterary community” to some extent different from most of the “specific interliterary communities” of the world, for instance, Czech and Slovak literature, the Slavic literatures of Eastern Europe, or the literatures of the former socialist countries. Different from these and other communities of this kind, the new Chinese literature, especially after 1949, did not proceed with the interliterary process without points of friction, sometimes even with mutual attacks and mutual disrespect caused by political reasons: ideological differences, contradictory aims, neglect of human rights, democratic tendencies, and political propaganda. The interliterary process along which the new Chinese literature, or better to say “literatures,” is progressing, is here stressed together with “interliterariness,” the overstepping of one single literature and its coming into contact with one or more single literatures of the world. The interliterary community of Chinese literature within the whole set of its single literatures (from the mainland of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese literatures) presents an area where three different functions play their roles, of which at least one should be implemented: integrational, differentiating, and complementary. To understand the new Chinese literature in its relations within itself and the literatures of the world is a task to be fulfilled in the coming decades.
Buddhist literature in late Qing and early Republican China contributed to the new thinking in modern Chinese literature in a number of ways. Writers of Chinese Buddhist literature strove to elucidate the similarities between Buddhist culture and the scientific spirit, or to reveal the scientific spirit in Buddhist culture. Buddhist writers were aware of the importance of the spiritual enlightenment and mental reconstruction of the people, and realized the impact that literature and art as a kind of social ideology had on the national spirit. They were also interested in folk genres and vernacular literature. The May Fourth Movement put its emphasis on the people, while Buddhist literature in this period emphasized the related concept of humanity.
As one of the greatest writers in ancient China, Tu Fu has exerted immense influence upon subsequent poets, including those living in the modern era. Combining history and text with theory, this essay intends to make an in-depth exploration of the rewriting of Tu Fu by Feng Zhi, Yang Mu, Xi Chuan, and Liu Waitong. First, I contextualize the selected four poems composed in 1941, 1974, 1989, and 2000, respectively; and then do a close reading of them. By doing so, this essay aims to observe the tensions between historical narrative and literary imagination, and between symbolic metaphor and living world, so as, ultimately, to interpret how the factors of aesthetics, politics, and metaphysics shaped the different images of Tu Fu.
With the promotion of standard Chinese in China, dialects are becoming less and less important or even extinct. However, in Shanghai where the economy is developing very fast, the relationship between the dialect and standard Chinese in the field of literature seems returned to the original state at the beginning of modern Chinese literature. With the development of contemporary and modern Chinese literature as a context and Shanghai writers as an example, this paper will analyze the great influence of standard Chinese and dialects on contemporary and modern Chinese literature, the different manifestation between Northern and Southern areas, and the complicated reasons of this phenomenon.
There are some drawbacks in evaluating literature purely in terms of its development and its historical setting, and the remedies may lie in cultural geography. The author argues in this paper that with the development of contemporary Chinese poetry, regional culture and aesthetics in poetry have also gradually developed. Contemporary poetry in recent years exhibits different regional ideologies. The cultural attitudes and poetry sensibility in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and the southwest areas are completely different from each other. These differences in regional aesthetics enable a diversified development of contemporary Chinese poetry.
In the formation of the contemporary Chinese literary system, literary criticism manifested the demands of “Socialist Literature” and established its basic paradigms in the development of Marxist critical activities. Aimed squarely at interpreting the central values of the contemporary literary system, literary criticism plays a role in the entire process of literary production. Therefore, the relationship between criticism and ideology is one of the most basic issues in the history of literary criticism. In the last three decades, the paradigm of literary criticism has been transformed, but it has not become an independent discipline. The success of this transformation is dependent upon the emergence of sinisized critical theories and the methodical nurturing of reality.
In order to discuss the issue of classifying and categorizing history, this article takes the “Seventeen-Year Literature” as its subject of study. The author states that previous studies conducted on the “Seventeen-Year Literature” (1949–1966) should have been displayed on the following levels: the literary history of the Seventeen Years, the history of the Seventeen Years which was interpreted culturally in the 1980s, the literary history of the Seventeen Years produced in modern literature and the literary history of the Seventeen Years processed in Zai jiedu (A second interpretation). Therefore, the study of the “Seventeen-year Literature” has come forward in leaps and bounds and must not stagnate. Instead, it should take previous research findings and apply them retrospectively to the current structure of knowledge in the hopes of further development. Fixing the “Seventeen-Year Literature” not to a particular historical level, but to the dialogic context is an issue that scholars cannot avoid.