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History in Fiction: Reading the Novels of Nobel Laureate Mo Yan

Date: Thu. October 17th, 2013, 4:30 pm-1:00 pm

Controversies about Chinese writer Mo Yan have been heated since last October, when the Swedish Academy announced him to be the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work “with hallucinatory realism merging folk tales, history and the contemporary.” The most recent debate was aroused by German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin, who commented at a May conference in Hong Kong: “I cannot come to a thorough understanding of post-1911 Chinese history through his fiction.” In response to the criticism, this lecture investigates Mo Yan’s fictional historiography by focusing on four of his thirteen novels, namely “Red Sorghum” (1987), “Big Breasts and Wide Hips” (1996), “Sandalwood Death” (2001), and “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out” (2006).

Dr. Shelley Chan and Dr. Howard Choy (Wittenberg University) will discuss how the novelist effectively challenges the official history of China in the modern and contemporary periods.


Cosponsored with:

CWRU Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, CWRU Department of English, CWRU Asian Studies Program

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