CHIN-467-01 Chinese Avant-Garde Fiction
Spring for 2014-2015
This course examines three brief yet brilliant impulses in the history of modern Chinese fiction: the work of Shanghai’s “New Sensationalist” writers in the 1930s, Taipei’s modernist writers in the 1960s, and the post-Mao young “xianfengpai” (leading-edge) writers in the mid-1980s. Even though these impulses occurred under very different historical and geopolitical circumstances and for very different reasons, the writers of the three periods share something in common—they all try to break away from realist narrative modes, paying special attention to the craftsmanship of fiction; and claim to be pursuing art for art’s sake. We shall read selected short stories by six writers, two from each period, representative of the experimental writings of the period. Through the reading of selected stories and other relevant materials, we shall contemplate the meaning of Chinese modernist writing, and try to understand its paradoxical effects: why and how this fascinating kind of literary work is short-lived and yet enduring in appeal. Because the readings will be highly demanding, the pre-requisite for the course is one 400-level course in Chinese or equivalent.
Prerequisites: Chinese 400 level or above
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '15: Zhang J (description, file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
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