Global Chinese Literature: Critical Essays by Jing Tsu, David Der-Wei Wang

By Jing Tsu, David Der-Wei Wang

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Title: Global chinese language Literature
Author: Tsu, Jing (EDT)/ Wang, David Der-Wei (EDT)
Publisher: Brill educational Pub
Publication Date: 2010/09/30
Number of Pages: 231
Binding style: HARDCOVER
Library of Congress: 2010015916

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Naipaul, a third-generation Indian English-language author from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, is exemplary. In one essay, he discloses his reason for refusing metropolitan literature (which can be considered as the whole of modernism). 15 Possessing two worlds but still lost between them, Naipaul writes in the novel A Way in the World: “We didn’t have backgrounds. We didn’t have a past. ”16 How do we confront this blank? How do we fill it? Likewise, how to overcome the impoverished existence created by this void—like Naipaul’s experience of Trinidad?

To put it another way, we might displace the question of minor literature with that of literary modernism. With regard to third world intellectuals, this means taking a journey to the centers of resource capital—often the colonializer’s national capital, a modern metropolis, or at least the national capital or a neighboring capital—through studying abroad, emigration, or exile. The journeys of Latin American authors to Europe formed the intellectual conditions of their literary explosion. The wave of Chinese youths studying abroad in Europe, America, and Japan since the May Fourth period has, similarly, molded modern Chinese literature.

Early Sinophone American literature had largely been written in Cantonese or with Cantonese inflections, while the post-1965 body of literature is largely in standard Hanyu, refracting the particular geographical contours of immigration from China, Taiwan, and elsewhere in different historical periods. The English-centrism of American literature is necessarily fractured by the proliferation of Sinophone American literature by generations of immigrants from various other Sinophone communities. American literature, like all other national literatures, is multilingual.

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