University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CRASSH Humanitas Lectures > From Mara Poet to Nobel Laureate: On Modern Chinese Literary Culture

From Mara Poet to Nobel Laureate: On Modern Chinese Literary Culture

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  • UserDavid Der-wei Wang (Professor in Chinese Literature at Harvard University, Director of CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinological Studies, and Academician, Academia Senica) World_link
  • ClockTuesday 13 May 2014, 17:00-18:30
  • HouseMill Lane, Lecture Room 1.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Reni Eddo-Lodge.

This is the first of four public Humanitas events in Chinese Studies by renowned scholar of Chinese Literature, David Der-wei Wang.

David Der-wei Wang (Professor in Chinese Literature at Harvard University, Director of CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinological Studies, and Academician, Academia Senica) will give a series of three public lectures on aspects of The Chinesesness of Chinese Literature, then participate in a concluding symposium on Wednesday 21 May 2014.

This talk examines modern Chinese literature not as a corpus of texts but as a constellation of tastes, discourses, occasions, and productions contested by historical dynamics. The talk starts with the year 1908, when Lu Xun introduced “Mara Poet” as a modern agent to “pluck” one’s heart and thereby transform China. This Mara Poet underwent multiple incarnations in the subsequent decades, from a romantic iconoclast to a modernist rebel and a revolutionary fighter, finally becoming a Maoist Cadre. Meanwhile, since the 1920s, modern Chinese literary culture has been occupied by another figure, Alfred Nobel, as the country was striving to catch up with world literature. When Gao Xingjian and Mo Yan were awarded the Nobel Prizes in the new millennium, however, that produced more questions than answers as to the meaning and function of Chinese literature.

From Mara to Nobel by way of Mao, modern Chinese literary culture has been conceived, produced, circulated, and consumed in a multitude of ways. The talk will focus on the following topics: the changing fields of production, the fashioning of literary subjectivity, and the negotiation of literary values, during the pre-May Fourth era, the eve of 1949, and the postsocialist era.

For further information, see http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/25336

This talk is part of the CRASSH Humanitas Lectures series.

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