Shen Congwen and modern Chinese “nativism”

More advice to students writing papers:

Shen Congwen’s way of writing about the countryside differed from that of other writers like Mao Dun and Wu Zuxiang, and this can be associated with their different politics. It’s relevant, but not determinative, that Shen Congwen was anti-Communist; art cannot be simply reduced to political convictions of one kind or another. But I do think that the transcendent and timeless quality of the world of Border Town is indicative of what Marxists would call “bourgeois ideology.” At the same time, the rediscovery of Shen Congwen in the 1980s both in mainland China and Taiwan was an important turning point in Chinese literature, and he became more influential than ever before, inspiring the emergence of new writers like Jia Pingwa and Mo Yan, who also write primarily about their rural homeland.This tradition, which we often call “nativism,” is arguably one of modern Chinese literature’s greatest contributions to world literature.ImageImage

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