W2-Goldblatt-Experimentation+and+Growth

W2-Goldblatt-Experimentation+and+Growth - MODERN CHINESE...

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Unformatted text preview: MODERN CHINESE FICTION A Guide to Its Study and Appreciation Essays and Bibliographies Edited by Winston L. Y. Yang and Nathan K. Mao With Contributions by Howard Goldblatt Joseph S. M. Lau Nathan K. Mao Michael Gotz Peter Li Winston L. Y. Yang DENVER PUBLIC LlBRAR~ FEB 1983 DmI COUNTY OF ONWEII G. K. HALL & CO. BOSTON, MASS. 1181 I Modern Chinese Fiction: 1917-1949 Howard Goldblatt 1. THE PERIOD OF EXPERIMENTATION: 1917-1927 The Beginnings Modern Chinese fiction is a term which identifies the novels and short stories of China not only chronologically but also generically.' Chronologically, it covers the period from about 1917, the date generally accepted as the genesis of the so-called "Literary Revolution,"! to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Literature written after this period is generally referred to as contemporary rather than modern. The "modernness" of the fiction from this period of slightly more than three decades can be seen in terms of its language, form, and content, all of which significantly broke with tradition. In terms of language, the new breed of writers set their sights on the creation of a literature which utilized the "national language" (kuo-yu'); in other words, when read aloud, this literature ideally could be readily and unambiguously understood by anyone who spoke that dialect. It was called pai-hua, or "vernacular writing," and was a marked departure from the orthodox style of writing, wen-yen, or "literary writing," which was its predecessor. The elegant, concise, and often highly ornate language of belles lettres had, over the centuries, remained more or less static, thereby becoming increasingly removed from the living and changing language of the people. The officially sanctioned and self-perpetuating monopoly on literacy which evolved proved to be a constant, though not wholly successful, block to the emergence of new literary forms and trends. In his 1918 article "Constructive Literary Revolu- lion" (Chien-sh, ti tuen-hsiieh tun), Hu Shih (1891.1962), philosopher, scholar, and vanguard of the literary revolution, wrote of China's literary tradition: I have carefully gone into the reasons why in the past 2,000 years China has had no truly valuable and living classical-style literature. My own answer is that what writers in this period have written is dead stuff, written in a dead language. A dead language can never produce a living literature .... Why is it that a dead language cannot produce a living literature? It is 3 I Modern Chinese Fiction: 1917-1949 Howard Goldblatt 1. THE PERIOD OF EXPERIMENTATION: 1917-1927 The Beginnings Modern Chinese fiction is a term which identifies the novels and short stories of China not only chronologically but also generically.' Chronologically, it covers the period from about 1917, the date generally accepted as the genesis of the so-called "Literary Revolution,"! to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Literature written after this period is generally referred to as...
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2012 for the course ASIAN 261 taught by Professor Kaldis during the Winter '11 term at University of Michigan.

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W2-Goldblatt-Experimentation+and+Growth - MODERN CHINESE...

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