Contemporary Chinese Literature: From the Cultural by Yibing Huang (auth.)

By Yibing Huang (auth.)

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Extra resources for Contemporary Chinese Literature: From the Cultural Revolution to the Future

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One way of reading it is to take this disjunction as existing between the individual and the history where he (she) is situated. While history has been 40 ● Contemporary Chinese Literature involved in a nonstop series of changes, movements, and turmoils, the individual’s inner world lags behind, becoming stagnant and unable to renew itself. This appears to be the same personal tragedy that Tsvetaeva suffered through the Russian Revolution, since she could not keep up with the accelerating pace of history.

Is he God? A godlike figure? Or, the personified setting sun? Then again, even the title itself remains elliptic and ambiguous: “ADDIO” was what Duo Duo first chose in his original manuscript back in 1972. ”19 Along with this anonymity and ambiguity, another important characteristic of this poem is the total omission of the lyric first-person subject “I” or “We,” which was frequently overused in Red Guard poetry. However, it is exactly because of the absence of “I” or “We” that a new and almost elegiac voice strangely starts to loom over the whole poem.

41 But unlike Rimbaud, who displays a self-consciously Promethean gesture by his “derangement of all senses,” Duo Duo looks at this “derangement” with a much more mixed and always-conflicting emotion. To Duo Duo, this derangement is, first of all, a curse inflicted by history on him. Only then does it become apparent that this is also his only way to preserve himself and to transcend history. And only at the very last, underneath the equally woeful tone of his poems with regard to the uncertainty and futility of a poet’s fight against such a night of history, there can be discerned an extremely subdued, although no less haughty, voice that prides itself in its unwillingness to entirely surrender.

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