Speaker: Xiaoqi Shen, IDMA Candidate in East Asian Studies
Wang Xiaobo, a writer whose many works have earned great reputation after his early death, is a cultural phenomenon in contemporary China. This paper tries to examine Wang’s searching for the independence of spirit by analyzing his narrative strategy manifested in the intertextual narrator Wang Er. As the narrator intrudes the metafictional structure of Wang’s novels, a two-way identification between the narrator and the author is indicated: the narrator, mimicking the writing action of the author, molds his own version of history; while the author portrays the narrator as an ideal that bypasses the historical burden and flees to a poetic world. I argue that, in the failure of narrating an ideal out of experience, an irony is presented for both a grand narrative of totality and the individual subject that seeks independence, and the individuality that cannot be canceled in the history points out the inability to escape.
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