This essay traces a modernist aspect of Zhao Shuli’s fiction to his popular story “Rhymes of Li Youcai.” By using an analogy of flaneur from French resources, the essays argues that the major hero’s action delineated as a constant loitering suggests a special mode of intellectual being in his relation to the social and political life he lives in, which is quite exceptional in modern Chinese literature. Moreover, a close reading raises a few theoretical questions about the nature of his storytelling art and invites a rethinking of the relationship between the May Fourth Enlightenment Literature and the Revolutionary Literature. Keywords Zhao
Xia Yan (1900–95), a very important leftist filmmaker in the 1930s, preferred film adaptation after 1949. This paper, by reading several of Xia Yan’s films written in the 1950s and 1960s against their literary sources, explores the changes he made to the sources and the strategies he used. It also outlines the different positions he took and the cultural history glimpsed through the films and Xia Yan’s role in them. This paper then analyzes how Xia Yan acted as a conformist vanguard repeating and re-enforcing the official ideology, as is shown in his adaptations of The New Year’s Sacrifice and Revolutionary Family. He was an ambivalent critic in the adaptation of The Lin Family Shop with its petite-bourgeois protagonist and its perhaps unintentional deconstruction of the official version of history. While, he reserved his humanistic concerns incognito for Hong Kong in the adaptation of Between Smiles and Tears.
This essay examines stories of girls coming of age as depicted by modern Chinese women writers—in particular to the pervasive ness of a certain melancholy in their treatment of the subject. This study offers a vantage point from which it will be possible to survey writers ranging from Ding Ling and Xiao Hong in the 1930s and 1940s to Wang Anyi and Tie Ning in the 1980s and 1990s. As a rule, these seemingly trivial coming-of-age stories are set in the whirlwind of historical change through deep sorrow and grief, not the transcendent aesthetics of the sublime as suggested by grand historical narratives. Mainly based on the close-reading of three literary texts including Xiao Hong’s novel Tales of Hulan River (1941), Tie Ning’s novel The Rose Door (1988), and Wang Anyi’s novel Reality and Fiction (1993), the author argues that the recurrent figure of the “melancholic girl” functions as an important trope in the writing of modern Chinese women writers and that it also serves to reveal various problematic aspects of women’s emancipation in modern China; at the same time, this essay also reveals how melancholy—in the psychological and clinical sense—serves to legitimize a certain degree of ego-formation in its female sufferers.
In recent years, research on East Asia, including the China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and other countries and regions, is gradually valued by a group of young Chinese scholars. Eastern regions studies concentrate on how classical Chinese culture was popularized, absorbed and recreated in East Asia. The four East-Asian countries of China, Japan, South Korea and North Korea are geographical neighbors and mutually dependent upon each other. And in the past two thousand years, the neighbors, separated only by small bodies of water, have been communicating frequently with each other culturally, economically and politically by sea and by land. The Chinese characters that have been used for a long time and the thoughts, religion and literature transmitted through Chinese language constitute the so-called “Chinese Cultural Circle.”
Literature, in the age of globalization, has gradually been marginalized with the blossoming of electronic art, while its position as an icon of culture has been highlighted. The tension between these two tendencies currently cannot be relieved by maintaining the mainstream Western definition of literature (literature as fiction, poetry and drama), but alternatively, the definition of literature in Chinese culture (literature as the beauty of language) may provide a better solution. Thus the redefinition of literature through Chinese culture is necessary and essential for literary development in the global age.
This paper analyzes the rationality and limitations of Literary Theory’s “shift to cultural studies.” According to the scholars who insist on this shift, there are some issues that damage the “legitimacy” of the discipline’s existence given the development of contemporary Literary Theory. But Literary Theory can still recognize clearly the new realities in the development of contemporary literature. And it is not enough to study new forms such as mass media, network literature, and the institutions of literature in order to solve the problems in the discipline of Literary Theory. The innovation and construction of Literary Theory need to “turn to life” and aim to study and resolve practical problems in our new literary life.
The characteristics of the family system in the “Chinese-Han” cultural circles of feudal society can be traced back to two classics of traditional Chinese culture: Yijing 易经 (The book of change) and Liji 礼记 (The book of rites). The Book of Change seeks balance and harmony between yin and yang, proposing some valuable ideas about family, such as a “happy and harmonious marriage is based on the husband’s respect for his wife.” Its dialectical deduction and thought pattern have greatly influenced the gender relations of the Chinese people and the formation of family values. The family values in The Book of Change contain essential Confucian and Daoist ideas. The Book of Rites reflects more Confucian ideas, focusing more on the establishment of a hierarchic structure in the family. Confucian ideas in The Book of Rites and Daoist ideas in The Book of Change have had great influence on Chinese life and literary writings.
Taiping leshi 太平乐事 (Joy in the time of peace and prosperity) by Cao Yin 曹寅 (1658–1712), is a drama of uniqueness involving exotic subjects. Act 8, entitled The Joyous Japanese Songs, is about the King of Japan paying tribute to the Chinese emperor, and most parts of it are written in Chinese characters carrying only sounds. Cao Yin called the phonetic characters “Woyu” (the Japanese language). But what does this kind of unprecedented “Woyu” intend to convey and what is the historical background behind these “Woyu”? This paper attempts to interpret this drama based on Japanese scholarship on Chinese-Japanese vocabularies compiled in the Ming dynasty, and on research into Cao Yin’s knowledge about Japan through textual analysis.