Yan Lianke is one of the most important, prolific, and controversial writers in contemporary China.
At the forefront of the "mythorealist" Chinese avant-garde and using absurdist humour and grotesque satire, Yan’s works have caught much critical attention not only in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also around the world. His critiques of modern China under both Mao-era socialism and contemporary capitalism draw on a deep knowledge of history, folklore and spirituality. This companion presents a collection of critical essays by leading scholars of Yan Lianke from around the world, organised into some of the key themes of his work: Mythorealism; Absurdity & Spirituality; and History & Gender, as well as the challenges of translating his work into English and other languages.
With an Introduction by Yan Lianke himself, this is a vital and authoritative resource for students and scholars looking to understand Yan’s works from both his own perspective, and those of leading critics.
Table of Contents
Part I: Mythorealism & Censorship 1. Yan Lianke’s Mythorealist Representation of the Country and the City Weijie SONG 2. Building Chinese Reality with Language and Metaphor: From Socialist Realism to Mythorealism Xiaolu MA 3. Mythorealism, the Absurd, and Existential Despair in Yan Lianke’s Memoir and Fiction: Confronting the Fate of Sisyphus in Modern China’s Historical Traumas Ashley LIU 4. Magical Realism, Mythorealism and the Re-presentation of History in the Works of Yan Lianke Raffael WEGER 5. Mythorealism or Pararealism? Yan Lianke’s Short Fiction as a Key to Enter the Author’s Representational World Marco FUMIAN 6. Censure and Censorship: Prohibition and Presence of Yan Lianke’s Writings in China Jessica YEUNG Part II: Absurdity & Spirituality 7. The Absurd as Method: The Chinese Absurdist Hero, Enchanted Power, and the Alienated Poor in Yan Lianke’s Military Literature Haiyan XIE 8. Yan Lianke and Italo Calvino on the Absurdity of Urban Life Selusi AMBROGIO 9. "Inverse Theology" in Yan Lianke’s Four Books and Franz Kafka’s The Trial Melinda PIRAZZOLI 10. Elements of Modernism and the Grotesque in Yan Lianke’s Early Fiction Nicoletta PESARO 11. Representing the Intellectuals in Yan Lianke’s Recent Writing: An Exile of the Soul Alessandra PEZZA 12. The Dream, the Disease, and the Disaster: On Yan Lianke’s Dream of Ding Village Shelley W. CHAN 13. Yan Lianke’s Novel Heart Sutra: The Kiss of the Rock and the Egg Andrea RIEMENSCHNITTER 14. The Redemption of the Peach Blossom Spring: An Examination of the Human Condition in Yan Lianke’s Zhongyuan Di-kai CHAO and Riccardo MORATTO Part III: History & Gender 15. Creating a Literary Space to Debate the Mao Era: The Fictionalization of the Great Leap Forward in Yan Lianke’s Four Books Sebastian VEG 16. Disability, Revolution, and Historiography: Grandma Maozhi in Lenin’s Kisses Zihan WANG 17. Corrective Catachresis: Capitalist Mystification Derailed in The Explosion Chronicles and "The Story of Fertile Town" Kwan Yin LEE 18. Reconstructing the Self through Herstory: On Yan Lianke’s Tamen (Shes) Sabrina ARDIZZONI 19. Female Labor, the Third Sex, and Excrescence in Yan Lianke’s Nonfiction Tamen Yijiao GUO 20. A Geocritical Study of Yan Lianke’s Balou Mountain Stories: The Utopian Cognitive Mapping in Post-1949 China Chen WANG 21. An Ecocritical Approach to Yan Lianke’s Literary Works Minh Thuong NGUYEN THI and Riccardo MORATTO 22. Paratextual Encounters in Yan Lianke’s Fictional Worlds: Reading between the Lines Ronald TORRANCE Part IV: Translation & Reception 23. Ideological Patterns in the Critical Reception of Yan Lianke: A Comparative Approach Chunli SHEN 24. The Challenge of Translating Yan Lianke’s Literary Creation Taciana FISAC 25. Yan Lianke in Basque: Notes on Translating Sensory Images Maialen MARIN-LACARTA 26. The Translation and Reception of Yan Lianke in France Lu GAN 27. The Treacherous "News That Stays News": The Four Books in Czech Translation Zuzana LI 28. Translating the Chinese Cultural Other: Yan Lianke’s Shouhuo in English Translation Baorong WANG 29. The Translation and Reception of Yan Lianke in Japan Dongli LU and Riccardo MORATTO 30. The Translation and Reception of Yan Lianke’s Fiction in Vietnam Van Hieu DO and Riccardo MORATTO 31. The Reception and Significance of Yan Lianke’s Works in Taiwan Riccardo MORATTO and Di-kai CHAO 32. The Reception of Yan Lianke in Hong Kong Carole Hang-fung HOYAN and Yijiao GUO
Riccardo Moratto is Full Professor of Translation Studies, Chinese Translation and Interpreting at the Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation (GIIT), Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) and Honorary Guest Professor at Nanjing Agricultural University. Prof. Moratto is a Chartered Linguist and Fellow Member of CIoL, Visiting Scholar at Shandong University, Honorary Research Fellow at the Center for Translation Studies of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, and Expert Member of the Translators Association of China (TAC). Prof. Moratto is also an international conference interpreter and a renowned literary translator. He has published extensively in the field of translation and interpreting studies and Chinese literature in translation.
Howard Yuen Fung Choy, Associate Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Colorado. Chief editor of the Brill series Hong Kong Culture and Literature and African and Asian Anthropocene: Studies in the Environmental Humanities, co-editor of Liu Zaifu: Selected Critical Essays (2021), editor of Discourses of Disease: Writing Illness, the Mind and Body in Modern China (2016), the author of Remapping the Past: Fictions of History in Deng's China, 1979-1997 (2008), and the assistant author of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism (2005), he has also published articles and translations in major scholarly journals, including positions, American Journal of Chinese Studies, and Asian Theatre Journal.
"Yan Lianke is among the most controversial and sophisticated writers in contemporary China. He has a keen, journalistic sensibility with regard to social events and is capable of turning anything he touches into a dark carnival. This companion introduces Yan’s extraordinary background, kaleidoscopic style, Kafkaesque sense of humor, and his deepest concern about the fate of China. This is a most comprehensive reader, demonstrating not only Yan’s art and politics of fiction but also the construction and deconstruction of the "China story" in our time."---David Der-wei Wang, Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, and Academician, Academia Sinica.
"As the first English volume on this prominent, avant-garde, and controversial writer, the Routledge Companian to Yan Lianke is a magnificent pioneering work covering a rich array of literary criticism. With a kaleidoscopical treatment of Yan Lianke’s novels, literary theory and essays, this book is a major achievement in addressing many pivotal themes such as mythorealism, absurdity, spirituality, history, gender, translation and reception."---Jianmei Liu, Professor of Chinese Literature, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
"Encyclopedic in scope and comprehensive in coverage, the Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke presents a deep critical dive into the oeuvre of one of the most important Chinese writers of the past thirty years. For readers who want a more nuanced understanding of Yan Lianke’s brilliant and twisted literary universe, this is the best place to start."---Michael Berry, Director, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies Asian Languages & Cultures/Film, Television and Digital Media UCLA.
"This volume brings together wide-ranging, comprehensive and compelling studies of the major contemporary Chinese fiction writer Yan Lianke, whose innovative writing frequently goes against the grain and persistently transgresses narratological frontiers. The editors are to be congratulated on putting together this tour-de-force. It will stand for many years to come as essential reading for anyone interested in Yan Lianke and the mythorealist mode he promotes."---Gregory B. Lee FHKAH, Founding Professor of Chinese Studies, Head of Department of Chinese Studies, Department of Chinese Studies, School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews.