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Panel C: Modern East Asia Literature and Film

Location: Rm. 3024

Wei Xie, “A Comparative Study of Mo Yan’s Translation in the Non-Chinese World with Methodological Reflections”

Professor, Appalachian State University

Keywords: Mo Yan, translation, Chinese literature

When Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, the Swedish Academy lauded him as a masterful author “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” With the halo of a Nobel laureate, Mo’s novels have commanded unprecedented interests among overseas Chinese literature translators and scholars. The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, I compare the translations of Mo’s works in English, Japanese, and German, by Howard Goldblatt, Yoshida Tomio (吉田富夫), and Peter Weber-Schäfer, respectively. Citing Hans Vermeer’s Skopos theory and Even-Zohar’s model of translation and identity, I intend to explore the three translators’ translating strategies in terms of the decoding, implantation and reconfiguration of meaning that are relative of the translators’ cultural and ideological backgrounds and projected reader expectations. Second, I use the aforementioned case studies to reflect on the adaptability of Western theories to Mo Yan in specific and Chinese literature in general. Finally, based on above research, I envision the future of Chinese literature’s prospective reception in the non-Chinese world.

Siyuan Wang, “People, Individual and Modern self- The Subject Construction of Modernist Literature in the Chinese 1980s”

Visiting and Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: modernist literature, 1980s in China subject construction

This paper aims to discuss, analyze and investigate the subject construction of “modernist” literature, in order to enrich audience’s cognition of literature in the 1980s and reactivate the vitality of that period of history.
In the first chapter, this paper takes Mao Dun’s open discussion of the work “Ye Du Ou Ji” of the modernist literature as the starting point. Through the analysis of the arguments of Qin Zhaoyang and Zhou Yang in the 1950s, it is found that individualism was regarded as capitalism at that time, thus, this was also one of the reasons for criticizing Modernist. Therefore, this article believes that the entanglement of the people’s subject and individualism in the 1950s and 1970s is the history of the re-emergence of “modernism” in the 1980s.
In the second chapter, the paper will discuss the entanglement between “modernist” and “human”, which is seen as a major feature of the literary discourse in the “New era”. Furthermore, taking Wang Meng’s stream of consciousness novels and Zhang Xinxin’s psychological novels as cases, we will argue that the main body of the former presents a process of gradual transformation from individual to “people”, while the latter illustrates the writing of “modern personality” from the standpoint of individualism.
In the third chapter, this paper first will analyze the three representative subject theories of “turning inward”, “the theory of subject” and “literature is a new theory of human science” in the middle and late 1980s, and rereads the two “modernist” novels of Liu sola and Xu Xing based on the understanding of aforementioned concepts. It is considered that the subject of modernist literature in this period is under the coupling of humanitarianism, It constructs a modern egoism mixed with thoughts of humanity and anti-humanity, modernity and anti-modernity.

Yongkang Chen, “A Rhizomic Okinawa: The Superimposition of Multisensory Landscapes and Magical Realism in Medoruma Shun’s Droplets and Takamine Gō’s Untamagirū”

Graduate Student, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

Keywords: Okinawa, literature, Rhizome

This paper reimagines a complex vision of East Asia in the paradigm of the rhizome, which was initially suggested by Deleuze and Guattari and rhetorically draws an analogy to the semi-tropical banyan tree, or gajumaru tree in Okinawa. In terms of its raucously entangled roots and growing patterns, it imitates Okinawa’s inherently heterogeneous cultural vestige in the face of Japan’s hypocritical multiculturalism. This paper proceeds to excavate the multisensory landscapes of Okinawan memories from postwar literary texts and cinematic artworks. Focusing on two prominent Okinawan writers and directors, Medoruma Shun and Takamine Gō, this paper examines how natural landscapes and cultural soundscapes are discursively portrayed in their magical realistic methodologies. Represented by Medoruma’s war fiction “Droplets” (Suiteki, 1997) and Takamine’s film Untamagirū (1989), the superimposition of fiction and nonfiction is discernible in their strategies. Combining fictional hallucinations and nonfictional realistic images, so to speak, the presence of U.S. military bases and Japanese ideological intervention, I shall argue that these works attempt to estrange the audience and respectively engender an exclusive sphere that is explicable only to those beleaguered, and in this case, a rhizomic Okinawa inscribed in its unique legacies is reframed and reconfigured. Simultaneously, this paper contends that the predicament of Okinawa confronted with the enforced assimilation of cultural homogeneity is admittedly universal within East Asia, and hopefully, the notion of a rhizomic Okinawa proffers an alternative approach to the discourse of heterogeneity in East Asia