Contemporary Chinese Literature: From the Cultural Revolution to the Future

Contemporary Chinese Literature: From the Cultural Revolution to the Future

Yibing Huang

Language: English

Pages: 240


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book offers a fresh and nuanced perspective into contemporary Chinese literature by presenting four authors and cultural bastards--Duo Duo, an underground seer-poet; Wang Shuo, a "hooligan" writer; Zhang Chengzhi, an old Red Guard and new cultural heretic; and Wang Xiaobo, a defiant yet melancholy chronicler of a dystopian modern world. It analyzes each of these authors' distinctive (re)visions of a double-faced Chinese modernity against a collective legacy of the Cultural Revolution, and argues for the restoration of a historical horizon of China's transition from the Cultural Revolution to a hybrid moment of the present and future ridden with uncertainties.

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negotiates a radical plenitude of difference, and in the second, that plenitude of difference collapses into a negative, ever-“ancient” synchronic essence. The exteriorized horizonless subjectivity that dances unhindered across a global expanse of diversity returns to its provisional origin in the recessed interior of the “small dark room of superstition” [Button is referring to the line “In their black superstitious hovels” in a different English translation] … It is precisely the inscription

contradictions and complexities surrounding his generation’s subject formation against the background of the Cultural Revolution and Chinese modernity. In fact, the same year also saw Bei Dao’s famous declaration of “The Answer,” which soon became one of the first rebellious outcries to surface from the underground and enter the public consciousness. In fact, this poem served as the memento and signifying milestone of the Misty Poetry for one entire generation in the post–Cultural Revolution era.

attempt to envision the working out of a dialectic, however, stops there. Quintessentially, he views the Cultural Revolution as a nativist or provincialist withdrawal of China from the world and a deplorable total break with cosmopolitanism, being it a “communist cosmopolitanism” or a “‘bourgeois’ cosmopolitanism.” Separated from Levenson’s observations and prophecies by a time span of more than twenty years, and with the Cultural Revolution in retrospect, Jiwei Ci, in his Dialectic of the

legitimacy as successors to the revolutionary tradition. The second time was right after the end of the Cultural Revolution, when modernization became the new national agenda and was eulogized as the “New Long March.” Quite often critics tend to read this juxtaposition as a bold attack on and clever mockery of the Communist Party and the socialist state that utilized the Long March as an ideological myth to enhance its own legitimacy. For instance, according to Rey Chow, Instead of words with

fundamental 14 ● Contemporary Chinese Literature rootedness in his past and history, as shown in one of Cui Jian’s supposedly more politically charged songs in the same album, “A Piece of Red Cloth” (Yikuai hongbu). By manipulating the highly symbolic image of the “red cloth,” the song starts with an utterly satirical and critical tone: That day you used a piece of red cloth Covering my eyes and covering the sky You asked me what I saw I said that I saw happiness But the song, most

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