No End of Mo Yan

Mo Yan’s new book ‘Grand Ceremony,’ written about his trip to Sweden to receive the [Nobel Prize], made its debut on Friday at the opening of a national book fair.”

But he spent half his spoils on “a 200 sq metre (2,152 sq foot) property outside Beijing’s fifth ring road.

In a piece called “Mo Money–Nobel prize winner’s novel attacks China’s food safety,” Week in China argues that because of the “10,000 dead pigs [that] turned up in the Huangpu River,” Mo Yan’s “most recently translated book – titled POW! – … seems almost eerily timely, even though the original Chinese version came out more than 10 years ago.”

Salman Rushdie on Chinese Censorship: “the reason that so many are upset with Mo Yan isn’t that he didn’t oppose censorship, but that he went out of his way to defend it.”

And in a piece I must have missed when it came out months ago, “Mo Yan: Frenemy of the State,” Nick Frisch argues that “In the Chinese tradition, literature does not exist as a sphere outside the state: literature is the state. Or rather, the state is literature itself.”

And in an interview, Mo Yan’s translator Howard Goldblatt says, “I take pride in the fact that the head of the Nobel Literature Committee told me in Stockholm how critical my English translations were in selecting Mo Yan as the 2012 laureate; I assume he said something similar to the French or Italian or Swedish translators, since the committee members read several languages, but, with one exception, not Chinese.” But: “On behalf of literary translators everywhere, let me declare that we have nothing to apologize for”

And pictures of the town Mo Yan grew up in.

Chinese Literature Dissertation Reviews: Self-Articulation and Self-Accusation in the Works of Yu Dafu

Yu Dafu (1896-1945): Self-Articulation & Self-Accusation Dissertation Reviews has posted Luo Liang‘s review of Valerie Levan’s dissertation, Self-Articulation and Self-Accusation in the Works of Yu Dafu (1896-1945). Here’s how it begins:

To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world.
— Salman Rushdie, “Imaginary Homelands” (1991)

Valerie Levan’s meticulously crafted dissertation deserves careful reading and rereading for anyone interested in comparative literature, Chinese literature, Sinophone studies, and sociolinguistics. It is not only the first serious, full-length critical study of Yu Dafu’s 郁达夫aesthetic project in English; it is also the first of its kind in its comparative breath and analytical depth in terms of formal analysis of literary texts. The dissertation truly demonstrates the merits of a comparative approach to the “world republic of letters” (p. 10); at the same time, it offers thorough analyses of a major figure and a key genre in the history of modern Chinese literature and in the broad cultural context of the contemporary Sinophone world.

Still Mo Yan

Salman Rushdie writes in response to Pankaj Mishra‘s criticism of Rushdie’s criticism of Mo Yan, calling Mishra’s a “satanic view of human society,” to which Mishra responds that it’s easy “to upbraid a Chinese writer from afar.”

Hock G. Tjoa reviews Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum: “Some people love Goya’s paintings, especially those he did of Spanish royalty … But it is difficult to pay heed when there is a Guernica in the same room.”

At BBC Radio “Howard Goldblatt and novelist and film maker Xiaolu Guo discuss the nature of Chinese literature and how much Mo Yan and his fellow contemporary Chinese novelists can teach us about life inside this emerging world force.”

James Kidd at SCMP reviews Sandalwood Death and says, “Like so many of its characters and indeed China itself, the moral of the story is often hard to grasp … Those like Salman Rushdie who dismiss Mo as simply a ‘patsy’ of an authoritarian government would do well to read this complex, and subtle novel that illuminates the darkest corners of power, control and political violence.”

Yunte Huang 黃运特 reviews Pow!: “While the jury is still out as to whether the Chinese writer Mo Yan, who is said to have been toeing the party line, truly deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature, there is little doubt that his novel POW!—with its Rabelaisian carnivalesque language and surrealist narration—rightly belongs among the best of world literature.”

The Complete Review reviews Sandalwood Death, giving it an A and calling it “sensational (in every sense of the word) storytelling.”

The Boston Globe reviews Pow! and Sandalwood Death, praising Mo Yan’s work as “not realistic. It is magical, Rabelasian, satirical, steeped in blood, and obsessed with food in uncomfortable ways,” but they don’t know how to refer to Chinese people by their family name.

Chad Post of Three Percent is excited to read Sandalwood Death and gushes over the trailer.

And Dylan Suher reviews Pow! and Sandalwood Death: “There are those who are blessed with an unerring (and to others, infuriating) faith in their own view of the world … For us—the rest of us—there is literature.”