In Can Xue’s 殘雪’s recent fiction the crucial connection between emotions (qing 情) and the natural environment (jing 境) has been reinvented. This writer, born in Changsha in 1958, has been a central figure in Chinese avant-garde literature since the 1980s. In her recent short stories and in novels like Zuihou de qingren 最後的情人 [The Last Lover, 2005] and Bianjiang 邊疆 [Frontier, 2008], she explores the entangled universe of human feelings against the background of a natural yet surreal dreamscape, where each character is mysteriously yet deeply tied to other creatures, both fantastic and natural, plunging the reader into strong sensory and emotional experiences. Blending the two concepts of qing and jing drawn from traditional Chinese poetry, Can Xue creates a radically new way of expressing emotions through the representation of sometimes weird natural events and creatures. As she has recently stated, her fiction aspires to far more than telling a story: by transfiguring nature through peculiar sounds and images, she brings human experience into a highly spiritual yet also corporeal realm. After all, “[in] Chinese literary thought, emotion is consistently conceptualized through verbal patterning and visual manifestation” (Cai and Wu, 2019). In Zuihou de qingren, human beings, animals and plants, continuously interact, building new relationships. In this chapter I will show how Can Xue envisages a new pattern of interplay between qing and jing, in order to develop her own peculiar reinterpretation of the Chinese traditional concept of the harmony between humankind and nature (tianrenheyi 天人合一), while at the same time drawing upon Western literature and philosophy.

(Un)natural Landscapes and Can Xue’s Re-interpretation of “Tianrenheyi”

Pesaro, N.
2022

Abstract

In Can Xue’s 殘雪’s recent fiction the crucial connection between emotions (qing 情) and the natural environment (jing 境) has been reinvented. This writer, born in Changsha in 1958, has been a central figure in Chinese avant-garde literature since the 1980s. In her recent short stories and in novels like Zuihou de qingren 最後的情人 [The Last Lover, 2005] and Bianjiang 邊疆 [Frontier, 2008], she explores the entangled universe of human feelings against the background of a natural yet surreal dreamscape, where each character is mysteriously yet deeply tied to other creatures, both fantastic and natural, plunging the reader into strong sensory and emotional experiences. Blending the two concepts of qing and jing drawn from traditional Chinese poetry, Can Xue creates a radically new way of expressing emotions through the representation of sometimes weird natural events and creatures. As she has recently stated, her fiction aspires to far more than telling a story: by transfiguring nature through peculiar sounds and images, she brings human experience into a highly spiritual yet also corporeal realm. After all, “[in] Chinese literary thought, emotion is consistently conceptualized through verbal patterning and visual manifestation” (Cai and Wu, 2019). In Zuihou de qingren, human beings, animals and plants, continuously interact, building new relationships. In this chapter I will show how Can Xue envisages a new pattern of interplay between qing and jing, in order to develop her own peculiar reinterpretation of the Chinese traditional concept of the harmony between humankind and nature (tianrenheyi 天人合一), while at the same time drawing upon Western literature and philosophy.
Ecocriticism and Chinese Literature: Imagined Landscapes and Real Lived Spaces
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Pesaro_Unnatural Landscapes.pdf

non disponibili

Tipologia: Documento in Post-print
Licenza: Accesso chiuso-personale
Dimensione 8.64 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
8.64 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in ARCA sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3743318
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact