Tiananmen Fictions outside the Square
The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Temple University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Further Reading
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In book time, this work is more a young adult than a newborn, and it owes its origins, growth, and personality to a whole network and history of influential figures. I want to first thank my family, James and Yong Wilshire, for their support of my academic pursuits throughout the years, however remote academe may strike them at times. ...
Introduction: Tiananmen in Diaspora and in Fiction
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In our memories of Tiananmen, two images of power square off. Hannah Arendt, countering Mao Zedong two decades prior, as much as foresaw this. While Mao maintained that “power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” Arendt optimistically proposed that true power “always stands in need of numbers” and resides in the “living power of the people” (On Violence 41–42). ...
1. The Existentialist Square: Gao Xingjian’s Taowang
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Of the four writers in this book, Gao Xingjian is not only the oldest and the longest established but also the one with the most complicated reception history. Born in 1940, he is the only author here to have grown up in pre-communist China, in an environment where his early interests in Western literature, art, and music were safely encouraged. ...
2. The Aporetic Square: Ha Jin’s The Crazed
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Ha Jin, the pen name of Jin Xuefei, is perhaps best known today for his numerous prestigious awards in the U.S. literary arena over the past dozen years. He is popularly thought of as an émigré Chinese writer who has “made it” in America, someone who came to the vocation of creative writing relatively late in life ...
3. The Globalized Square: Annie Wang’s Lili
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Among the authors examined in this book, Annie Wang is an anomaly. She is the only one who currently lives both inside and outside of mainland China: leaving in 1993 to study journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, she has since moved back, first to her native Beijing in 1999, then relocating to Shanghai in 2004, ...
4. The Biopolitical Square: Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma
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With Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma (2008), Tiananmen receives its fullest treatment in literature to date—as at once history and myth. Of all extant Tiananmen fictions, this is the work that stays closest to social history, minutely tracking the rise and fall of the student pro-democracy movement; ...
Conclusion: The Square Comes Full Circle
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Among Tiananmen’s many revelations is that historical imagination may not always be literal. It may accrete through accidental suggestions and rumors, even inventions and errors, as much as facts. As George Black and Robin Munro justly put it, the term “Tiananmen Square Massacre” has firmly entered into the “political vocabulary of the late twentieth century,” ...
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Abou the Author
Page Count: 292
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Asian American History & Cultu
Series Editor Byline: edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh VÃµ