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The image of Chinese intellectuals in Wang Shuo's and Xu Kun's fiction

Authors Cheng, Lian
Issue Date 2002
Summary In the contemporary Chinese literary scene, Wang Shuo and Xu Kun both represent a unique cultural phenomenon. This thesis focuses on the image of Chinese intellectuals presented in their works. It examines the relationship between literary works and social reality and explores how the multiple elements in the cultural field have influenced the overall construction of Wang and Xu’s works and their identity. Wang Shuo becomes a phenomenon not only because he is one of the most controversial, provocative, influential, enchanting and widely read contemporary Chinese writers but also because he is the first Chinese writer to turn literary products into commercial goods and to promote “bestseller consciousness” in the contemporary literary scene. This thesis focuses on Wang’s works in the transitional period of the 1980s and the 1990s, when China was undergoing tremendous social reforms and changes. The thesis points out that Wang is trapped while striving for an appropriate position in the field of culture and literature. Meanwhile, his transitional position-taking in self-identity between a hooligan writer and an intellectual reveals his developing vision and paradoxical situations at a critical stage in the grand cultural transformation. In addition, Wang’s language style is investigated in terms of its cultural function. As both a writer and critic, Xu Kun draws public attention by her strong sense of social responsibility as an elite writer while delineating her conflicts and anguish with the commercialized society. This thesis positions Xu Kun in the complex process of her formation of self-identity. On the one hand, she conscientiously and constantly seeks for ways out of the intellectuals’ existential dilemma between the materialized reality and Chinese tradition, history and literature. By doing so, Xu Kun intends to effect a demystification of the intellectuals and break from the situation in which she finds herself entrapped as an intellectual. On the other hand, she implicitly and explicitly articulates her own self-identity as an intellectual by employing the classical Chinese language in her works.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2002
Language English
Format Thesis
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