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

13 May 2014, 17:00 - 18:30

Mill Lane (Lecture Room 1)

The lecture is free to attend and no registration is required.

David Der-wei Wang (Edward Henderson 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 The Chinesesness of Chinese Literature and participate in a concluding symposium on Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Abtract

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.   

Events in the Series:

humanitas
From Mara Poet to Nobel Laureate: On Modern Chinese Literary Culture
13 May 2014, Mill Lane (Lecture Room 1)

The first lecture by CRASSH Humanitas Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies 2013-14

The Lyrical in Epic Time: On Modern Chinese Literary Thought
15 May 2014, Mill Lane (Lecture Room 1)

The second lecture by CRASSH Humanitas Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies 2013-14.

Sailing to the Sinophone World: On Modern Chinese Literary Cartography
20 May 2014, Mill Lane (Lecture Room 1)

The third lecture by CRASSH Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies 2013-14.

The Chineseness of Chinese Literature
21 May 2014, Ramsden Room, St Catharine's College

The concluding symposium with the CRASSH Humanitas Visiting Professor in Chinese Studies 2013-14.

The Humanitas Chair in Chinese Studies  has been made possible by the generous support of Sir David Tang.

The Humanitas Chair in Chinese Studies will gather together academics and graduate students from different disciplines across the arts, social sciences and humanities with a research interest in China.

Previous Humanitas Visiting Professors in Chinese Studies

2012-13: Chen Yung-fa (Modern History Institute of the Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan)
2011-12: Wu Hung (Harrie A Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago)

Standing Committee

Hans van de Ven (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
Susan Daruvala (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
Adam Chau (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
Boping Yuan (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
Uradyn Bulag (Social Anthropology)

Hosting College

St Catherine's College