The Lyrical in Epic Time: On Modern Chinese Literary Thought

15 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.

Abstract

This talk proposes that we rethink the critical paradigm of modern Chinese literature in terms of “literary thought” or wenlun. As opposed to “literary theory” or lilun, which derives its conceptual and rhetorical thrust primarily from Western discourse, Chinese literary thought refers to a group of diverse texts, which in turn belong to distinct genres, occasions, and purposes. It tries to “explain the role literature plays in a civilization and to describe literature and literary works in terms that have resonance in other areas of intellectual and social life.”    

The talk introduces the lyrical in epic time as an exemplary case of modern Chinese literary thought. It critiques the conventional wisdom that associates lyrical representation with romantic escapade and sentimental solipsism, calling attention instead to modern writers’ and critics’ reappraisal as well as invention of the “lyrical tradition” of China. In particular, it features the engagements undertaken by intellectuals such as Shen Congwen (1902-1988), Chen Shixiang (1912 -1971) and Jaroslav Průšek (1906-1980) in the mid-twentieth century, a time often regarded as the “epic.” As such, the lyrical in epic time constitutes a significant part of modern lyrical discourse which includes articulations from Heidegger to Benjamin, Adorno, Brooks and de Man.  

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