Literature

Updated mapping of Literature in China

We have updated our mapping of literature in China.

In cooperation with sinologist and Chinese literature expert Mark Leenhouts we hope to provide you with an overview of the situation of literature in China at this moment.

This mapping is not an open source but is meant to be a collection of views and articles on the contemporary literature scene in China. We are open to all contributions, and invite readers to submit new parts or updates to this mapping.

Chinese Poetry

Literature

Traditionally, poetry was the foremost genre of literature in China, boasting names such as Li Bai and Bai Juyi of the Tang dynasty. It gradually ceded its status to the novel in the twentieth century, under the influence of developments in Western literature.

Qin Shang

Shang Qin was born in southern China and has lived in Taiwan since 1948. ‘When I look back, it seems to me that my past years are marked by imprisonment and escape. At the age of fifteen, I was press-ganged by local troops in the street of Chengdu, and locked up in an old barn. After a week’s imprisonment I gave in; there appeared to be books stored there that I had never seen before, it was my first actual encounter with the new literature. It was there that I read Lu Xun’s Weeds and Bing Xin’s Stars.

Dao Bei

Bei Dao began writing poetry in the early 1970s. He is seen as the figurehead of the first generation of poets in the People’s Republic of China to free themselves from the orthodoxy of state-controlled literature. In 1989, Bei Dao was accused of helping to incite the student revolt in Tiananmen Square, and forced into exile. He now lives in the United States. In 1994, when he tried to revisit Beijing, he was refused access to his native country and language.

Extra notes

Literature

Information

- Until recently, Mo Yan's books were published by Bert Bakker, starting with Het rode korenveld (Red Sorghum) in 1994. His latest novel Kikkers (Frog) will be published by De Geus.

- Su Tong's De rode lantaarn (Raise the Red Lantern) was published in 1994 by Contact, followed by two novels by De Geus and one by De Bezige Bij.

- All of Yu Hua’s novels have been published by De Geus, including his latest, Broers (Brothers), which is planned for 2012.

Translations

Literature

Translations from both sides

Authors

Literature

Authors – the big three

Since the eighties, just as in post-war Netherlands, China has witnessed the emergence of a ‘big three’: the novelists Mo Yan, Su Tong and Yu Hua, who all gained international recognition through films made by the acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou.

Background Information

Literature

Since the turn of the century, China has seen bookshops the size of department stores springing up everywhere, in which hordes of young people, standing or squatting, literally read the books to pieces. This image is not only indicative of China's burgeoning literary passion, but also illustrates how far its book industry has developed since the economic reforms of 1979.

Literature

Literature

Literature

Literature

Since the turn of the century, China has seen bookshops the size of department stores springing up everywhere, in which hordes of young people, standing or squatting, literally read the books to pieces. This image is not only indicative of China's burgeoning literary passion, but also illustrates how far its book industry has developed since the economic reforms of 1979.

Please view the rest of the mapping for a more detailed analysis of the literature scene in China.

 

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