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A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan By Shelley W. Chan ...

Chapter :  Introduction: Hunger and Loneliness: Mo Yan’s Muses in Becoming a Writer
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A Subversive Voice in China:


Hunger and Loneliness

Mo Yan’s Muses in Becoming a Writer

The twentieth century witnessed an unprecedented explosion of literature in the West. Fiction writing, for instance, progressed into a sophisticated enterprise that resulted in an enormous production of theories as well as the emergence of various schools of criticism. In addition, the development of literature was not only interdisciplinary but also international—writers in Europe, North America, and Latin America all strongly influenced by one another with their works.

While literature in the West enjoyed steady growth with multiple voices, in China its progress followed a roundabout course. Having a long history, traditional Chinese literature was known for its maturity, richness, and sophistication; hence, it had for many years been rather self-centered and self-sufficient, showing no interest in or any need for interaction with the literature of other countries. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, with the introduction of foreign cultures and the translation of foreign literary works, the May Fourth Movement1 changed the autonomous nature of Chinese literature. Literary critics successfully identified echoes of