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The Reception of Mo Yan in the British and North American Literary Centers
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the two major conflicting modes of interpretation applied to Mo Yan’s literary texts diachronically and synchronically in order to reveal both the aesthetic imperative and the liberating force of the British and North American literary centers in receiving literature from the periphery. After an introduction to the centers’ disparate responses to the paradigmatic shift of the local Chinese literary trend in the 1980s, the thesis continues with a theoretical discussion on reader-response theory and the uneven power relations between the literary center and the periphery. Jauss’s concept of horizon of expectation and Fish’s interpretive community are adopted to stress openness in interpretation while Casanova’s conceptualization of the world republic of letters provides the framework to study the competition among interpretive communities for the legitimacy of their respective interpretation.

The study of the press reception of Mo Yan focuses on the ongoing shift of horizon of expectation from the dominating political and representational mode of interpretation to one that stresses the literary and fictional nature of literature. The study shows that the imperative in the reception of Mo Yan is the extension of the Western cultural hegemony sustained by an Orientalist dichotomy. The academic promotion in the public sphere, however, shows critics’ effort to subvert such domination by suggesting an alternative mode that brings the Chinese literary context to bear on the interpretation. In addition to this, Mo Yan’s strategic negotiation with the dominating mode of reception is analysed in my close reading of POW!. At the end of the thesis, I call for general readers to raise the awareness of the hegemonic tendency of any prevailing mode of interpretation. By asserting a certain distance, readers enable the openness in interpretation and hence possible communication among different communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 59 p.
Keyword [en]
Mo Yan; reception; reader-response criticism; horizon of expectation; interpretive communities; Pascale Casanova; discourse; hegemony
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115370OAI: diva2:796998
Available from: 2015-03-26 Created: 2015-03-20 Last updated: 2015-03-26Bibliographically approved

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