Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

A Gun Is Not a Woman: Local Subjectivity in Mo Yan’s Novel Tanxiang xing


Riemenschnitter, Andrea Hong Anrui (2013). A Gun Is Not a Woman: Local Subjectivity in Mo Yan’s Novel Tanxiang xing. Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, 7(4):590-616.

Abstract

Mo Yan’s historical novel Sandalwood Death revisits the Boxer Uprising, exploring a local structure of feeling from the point of view of oral transmissions that, one hundred years after the events, appears gradually to be receding into oblivion. It is a project of recuperation or, rather, aesthetic reconstruction of local knowledge. The staging of a variety of local performances, such as Maoqiang opera, seasonal festivals, military and religious parades, as well as of scenes of excessive violence in executions and battle scenes, appears to be a strategy for the cultural reclamation of these local experiences.
The story challenges the ingrained dualism between foreign, modern imperialist and nationalist forms of rationality, and pre-modern, local patterns of behaviour and thought. Employing polyphony and multivalent historical representtations, the novel aspires to portray the social dynamics in a given geohistorical circumstances by measuring the spatiotemporal as well as the cognitive distance between the witnessed event, the testifying witness and the future receivers of the transmitted stories. Thus, the inquiry does not focus on the historical events as facts, but rather on their cultural afterlife in (founding) narratives. In times of a growing gap between the modernist vision of human liberation and the actual conditions of growing inequality, delegitimization and dispossession, this tale of unrest in the wake of globalization has as much to say about the world’s peoples around the year 2000, when the novel was published, as about the microcosm of Shandong Gaomi County around the year 1900, when the historical events took place. Taking into account that the novel was written as a local Maoqiang opera in the making and that theatres are major providers of cultural space for the enactment of the human self as the subject of history, Sandalwood Death can perhaps best be described as a theatre of reclamation.

Abstract

Mo Yan’s historical novel Sandalwood Death revisits the Boxer Uprising, exploring a local structure of feeling from the point of view of oral transmissions that, one hundred years after the events, appears gradually to be receding into oblivion. It is a project of recuperation or, rather, aesthetic reconstruction of local knowledge. The staging of a variety of local performances, such as Maoqiang opera, seasonal festivals, military and religious parades, as well as of scenes of excessive violence in executions and battle scenes, appears to be a strategy for the cultural reclamation of these local experiences.
The story challenges the ingrained dualism between foreign, modern imperialist and nationalist forms of rationality, and pre-modern, local patterns of behaviour and thought. Employing polyphony and multivalent historical representtations, the novel aspires to portray the social dynamics in a given geohistorical circumstances by measuring the spatiotemporal as well as the cognitive distance between the witnessed event, the testifying witness and the future receivers of the transmitted stories. Thus, the inquiry does not focus on the historical events as facts, but rather on their cultural afterlife in (founding) narratives. In times of a growing gap between the modernist vision of human liberation and the actual conditions of growing inequality, delegitimization and dispossession, this tale of unrest in the wake of globalization has as much to say about the world’s peoples around the year 2000, when the novel was published, as about the microcosm of Shandong Gaomi County around the year 1900, when the historical events took place. Taking into account that the novel was written as a local Maoqiang opera in the making and that theatres are major providers of cultural space for the enactment of the human self as the subject of history, Sandalwood Death can perhaps best be described as a theatre of reclamation.

Statistics

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

5 downloads since deposited on 06 Jan 2014
2 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:06 Jan 2014 15:59
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:55
Publisher:Gaodeng Jiaoyu Chubanshe
ISSN:1673-7318
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3868/s010-002-013-0038-8
Official URL:http://journal.hep.com.cn/webpub/cipub/articledetail?locale=en_US&articleid=3F24D9D0-7132-11E3-99D0-90FFA72D3703&journalid=132&jyear=2013&issue=4&type=

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF - Registered users only
Size: 373kB
View at publisher