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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Can Xue’s Fictional Aesthetic: Its Route and Concerns

Vol. 48 No.1  3/2018


Can Xue’s Fictional Aesthetic: Its Route and Concerns


Chen Meng-chun









Key words

sacred, salvation, absurdist, fabrication, creation theory, the philosophy of existence


  Unlike previous studies of Can Xue殘雪, this article focuses on the novelist’s works of metafiction from the late 1980s to the 21st century. These works explore the issue of how to“fabricate”novels; they integrate creation theory and the philosophy of existence without neglecting historical reflection, pointing the way to a free and sacred spiritual homeland. By virtue of this exploration, Can Xue’s novels rid pioneer literature of its limitations, thereby establishing the value of Can Xue’s novels in the history of Chinese contemporary literature. Can Xue wrote her novels using alien and absurdist language to confront the sacred position of national mythology during the Cultural Revolution. They were aimed at bringing to light the hidden and intangible mental world, as well as the temporal imagination, of the people bound by such mythology. The novelist’s absurdist narratives show that the authentic sacred must derive from the “freedom of creativity” in the spiritual homeland following Chinese economic reform. The essence of the spirit of the sacred, namely the freedom of creativity, is the value of human existence and the ultimate concern of Can Xue’s novels. By virtue of this essence, Can Xue’s novels move from revolutionary China to post-revolutionary China, the former being a narrative construct consisting of various power discourses.


Author: Chen Meng-chun
Genre: Article
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