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.