Reflections and reciprocity : China and German modernist literature

  • This dissertation examines the portrayal of China in German modernist literature, as well as the adaptation of said literature in post-Mao China. It analyzes how the German texts of the modernist period negotiate cultural and political identity in the age of imperialism and Orientalism, and how their Chinese interpretations approach similar issues of representation and reform in different decades of China after Mao. How do the de-nationalizing elements of the original German-language writings create resonance with the nationalist aspects found in their contemporary Chinese counterparts? Drawing upon specific examples, I situate the German-language sources and their Chinese adaptations within their literary, cultural and historicopolitical contexts, and implement a multidisciplinary approach that combines textual analysis with postcolonial theory and cultural studies on global capitalism. Demonstrating how each work addresses and challenges the dominant discourse of its day, my thesis shows the continued influence of Germany literary modernism upon culture and politics in present day China, and argues in support of the existence of dynamic cultural transference between Germany and China. German-language works discussed include: Arthur Schnitzler’s fragment “Boxeraufstand” (1926), Bertolt Brecht’s drama Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (1953), Franz Kafka’s short story “Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer” (1917), and Stefan Zweig’s novella Brief einer Unbekannten (1922). Chinese works discussed include: the Sichaun opera Sichuan Haoren (1987), Can Xue’s essay “Building in Sections: The Artist’s Way of Life” (1997), and Xu Jinglei’s film Letter From an Unknown Woman (2004).

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Author:Chiann Karen Tsui
Referee:Russell A. Berman, Marton Dornbach, Ban Wang
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2013
Year of first Publication:2013
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Stanford Univ.
Release Date:2014/05/07
Last Page:215
© Copyright 2013 by Chiann Karen Tsui. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 32 Politikwissenschaft / 320 Politikwissenschaft
8 Literatur / 83 Deutsche und verwandte Literaturen / 830 Literaturen germanischer Sprachen; Deutsche Literatur
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 3.0