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Chinese Avant-garde Fiction: Quest for Historicity and Transcendent Truth By Zhansui ...

Chapter :  Introduction
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Chinese Avant-garde Fiction:


Avant-Garde Fiction as Counterhistory and Transcendent Epistemology in Post-Mao China

In the late 1970s, scar literature (shanghen wenxue 伤痕文学) emerged to expose the darkness and brutality of the Cultural Revolution. Scar literature told stories which were different from Maoist literature but shared the same historical grammar, political rhetoric, and mode of thinking.1 A highly politicized literary genre, scar literature displays little originality in style, technique, and language, in comparison to Maoist socialist realism.2

Scar literature was followed by root-searching literature (xungen wenxue 寻根文学),3 whereby Chinese writers searched for the new “roots” of Chinese literature and the “root” cause of the disasters in China’s recent history.4 Displaying linguistic, technical, and stylistic originality, root-searching literature represents Chinese writers’ conscious efforts to break away from the highly politicized paradigm which had dominated