My review of Rui Kunze’s scholarly monograph, Struggle and Symbiosis: The Canonization of the Poet Haizi and Cultural Discourses in Contemporary China, has been published online by Modern Chinese Literature & Culture. Here’s how it begins:
“The death of Haizi the poet will become one of the myths of our time,” eulogized Xi Chuan 西川 in 1990, a year after the suicide of one of his closest friends. Four years later, however, he tried to pierce that mythology: if we continue to “frame Haizi in a sort of metaphysical halo,” he wrote, “then we can neither get a clear view of Haizi the person nor of his poetry.” Testifying to its significance in the promotion and dissemination of Haizi’s writings, the first quotation (differently translated and romanized) also appears on the back cover of Over Autumn Rooftops (Host Publications, 2010), the collection of Haizi translations by Dan Murphy… The reconsideration, however, presents a cognizance essential for literary history and readers interested in approaching the reality, rather than mythology, of the poet. It is also the starting point for Rui Kunze’s ambitious, painstakingly researched, yet ultimately uneven study, Struggle and Symbiosis: The Canonization of the Poet Haizi and Cultural Discourses in Contemporary China.
Click on the image above for the full review.