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Ethics and Literature: Chinese Experimental Fiction in the 1980s
Lecture: Center for Chinese Studies | January 26 | 12:10-1 p.m. | 3401 Dwinelle Hall
Lin Zou, Visiting Scholar, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University
This talk asks an old question that still confronts literary critics today, and that is important to contemporary Chinese literature: how do we understand the relation between literatures ethical concerns and its pursuit of creativity not confined by ethical values? The speaker engages this question by looking into Chinese experimental fiction in the 1980s that reflects on the violence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and by further exploring the dilemma facing experimental fiction in an era of global commercialization. Focusing on the fiction of Yu Hua and Ge Fei, she suggest that the earlier experimental fiction of these writers puts humanistic concerns into what she calls an ironic relation with the exploration of a destructive and unfathomable human spirit. This ironic structure enables literature to bring humanistic concerns and creative energy into mutual critique, while allowing literature to explore both. She will discuss how the dilemma facing Chinese experimental fiction is specifically about the relation between ethics and literature in an age of consumerism and postmodern dissolution of meaning.
Institute of East Asian Studies | International and Area Studies | University of California, Berkeley |
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