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Upcoming Lecture



Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey C. Kinkley (金介甫)
Date: Saturday, Oct 5, 2013, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm



Twentieth Century China in the Eyes of Mo Yan and 

His Generation of Novelists

Left to Right: Mr. Mo Yan, Dr. Jeffery Kinkley, Dr. Ho Yong at China Institute

Winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, Mo Yan looks like “one of a kind” in the broad field of contemporary Chinese novelists. The sages of Stockholm credit his achievement to a “hallucinatory realism” that “merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” The view from China can be somewhat different. Mo Yan’s intense interest in his “roots”—in twentieth-century Chinese history—is characteristic of a whole generation of writers: those old enough to claim personal knowledge of the Cultural Revolution, but too young to have experienced the “old society” before the reign of Mao Zedong. Their explorations of history and memory in long, epic novels, as pioneered by Mo Yan in the 1980s, differentiate these writers from both older and younger Chinese thinkers and writers. 


Following a road that has taken them from avant-gardism and absurdism to new kinds of realism described as magical, hallucinatory, or hysterical, Mo Yan, Su Tong, Yu Hua, Zhang Wei, Ge Fei, Wang Anyi, Li Rui, and Han Shaogong have created grand new visions of modern Chinese history.  Jeffrey Kinkley argues that these visions are at root dystopian. The writers’ major novels, which can now be sampled in excellent English translations, bear comparison with similar experiments from Latin America and South Asia.


Jeffrey C. Kinkley, a professor of history at St. John’s University in New York and a teacher and translator of modern Chinese literature and film, is known for his studies of the prewar author Shen Congwen and his times, twentieth century Chinese detective stories, fictional explorations of legal process and official corruption in recent Chinese literature, and other topics in the intellectual and literary history of twentieth century China. His studies of China’s dystopian “new historical novels,” partly funded by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, will be forthcoming in a book from Columbia University Press.



For a feature story on Professor Kinkley on “News China” you can read it here.

Saturday, October 05, 2013, 2pm to 4 pm

Admissions: Free for members and $5 for non-members.

Location: China Institute, 125 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10021, between Lexington & Park Avenues)





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