Translated from the original French publication, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of twentieth-century Chinese literature and examines the relationship between Chinese literary theory and modernity. Jin Siyan surveys the work of leading writers including Zhang Ailing, Bei Dao, and Mu Dan. She seeks to answer some fundamental questions in the study of Chinese literary history, such as: How does contemporary Chinese literature go from historical narrative to the narrative of the I, where rhythm and epic merge into writing, and where the instinctive load of the rhythm substantiates the epic? What are the steps and the forms of mediation that allow such a transition? Is the subject the only agent of the transition? What is its status? What is the role of poetic language that led to the birth of the subject and which separates it from empiricism? What are the difficulties faced by Chinese writers today? Young Chinese writers set off in search of a totally new writing to rediscover subjectivity, which is in no way limited to literature; it also covers areas such as the law, and the expression of the I confronted with an overpowering we.
Jin Siyan obtained her PhD degree in contemporary literature at Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) before becoming Professor and Director of the Chinese Studies Department at the Université d’Artois, France. She is also the deputy editor of Dialogue Transculturel and the chief editor of the French-Chinese collection Proches-Lointains. Her current research focuses on the cultural transfer, the poetique and the subjectivity and women’s literary writings in twentieth-century China.
Isabelle Lee is a literary translator who lives and works in the South of France.