By Qingxin Lin
This ebook explores a few crucial good points of the chinese language new historic fiction (NHF) and its socio-cultural implications. It argues that the NHF constitutes an oppositional discourse that rejects, either the grand narrative of linear (revolutionary) historical past, which dominates chinese language legit historiography, and naïve self belief in 'Chinese modernity.'
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Additional info for Brushing History Against the Grain: Reading the Chinese New Historical Fiction (1986-1999)
The past, on the contrary, is employed by the modernist writer as the building blocks for constructing the characters' consciousness and personalities. Writers of alternative histories have shown two ways of subjectivizing history: the first is the "retrieval of personal, as opposed to the collective past" mentioned above, and the second is to compose a subjective as opposed to "objective" history. In a sense, the subjective use of the past transforms history from a Towards a Delineation 35 supposedly objective process into an expression or formation of personality.
The contrast between the past and the present brings out the inevitable conclusion that the human species has been degenerating. There is a deep-seated pessimism about the present and the future due to the perception of a regressive historical process, a notion contradicting the Marxist progressive view of history. The narrator's enfeebled physics and mentality therefore can only turn retrospectively to the glorious past of his ancestors for sources of vitality and spiritual strength. Mo Yan's novel clearly depicts the deterioration of personality and humanity over time: a gradual degeneration from the vigorous Dionysian heroes of the past to the lifeless Apollonian characters of the present.
Wang Xiaobo's trilogy delineates a regressive history viewed as deteriorating from The Age of Gold through The Age of Silver to The Age of Bronze. The three novels included in The Age of Bronze are of particular interest and significance owing to their arbitrary fusion (and confusion) of the boundaries between history and fiction, past and present, reality and dream. I hope my eclectic use of Western concepts and theories in this book would not be taken as an orientalist testimony to their universal validity or unexceptional truisms.
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