Exploring the Cultural Memory of the Common People: Desire, Violence, and Divinity in Mo Yan's Sandalwood Death

dc.contributor.author Li, Tonglu
dc.contributor.author Li, Tonglu
dc.contributor.department World Languages and Cultures
dc.date 2018-02-17T19:50:30.000
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-30T05:46:22Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-30T05:46:22Z
dc.date.copyright Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016
dc.date.issued 2016-03-01
dc.description.abstract <p>This article examines Mo Yan’s Sandalwood Death, a novel on Sun Bing, troupe leader of Cat Tune and participant in the Boxer Rebellion. Identifying more with localized folk culture than with the modern culture represented by either the new Westernized elites or the revolutionary Communist political class, Mo Yan, in Sandalwood Death, created a novel whose settings are the three interrelated realms of the everyday, the historical, and the divine. The first, “everyday” section of the novel focuses on the ways in which human desire is fulfilled and contested in the mesh of power relationships. With the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion, the attention of the narrator shifts to the historical realm, in which institutional violence is exercised and challenged. The realm of the divine comes as the negation of the bodily and the historical. In this divine space constructed by the carnivalesque performance of Cat Tune, the boundaries between performers and spectators, human song and animal screams, the worldly and otherworldly, and even life and death are blurred. A psychological construction that exists in people’s memory, this divine space uses the Cat Tune as its herald. For Sun Bing and his peers, the meaning of life is not found in self-gratification, but in becoming part of the people’s eternal memory, a memory that is substantially different from any of the institutional versions. Creating, disseminating and transmitting such a memory, these people are not insensitive onlookers to scenes of bloodshed, but passionate activists who speak and sing on their own behalf.</p>
dc.description.comments <p>This article is from <em>Concentric</em><em>: Literary and Cultural Studies</em> 42 (2016): 25-48, doi:<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.1.02" target="_blank">10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.1.02</a>. Posted with permission.</p>
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/language_pubs/107/
dc.identifier.articleid 1107
dc.identifier.contextkey 8918796
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath language_pubs/107
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/52628
dc.language.iso en
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/language_pubs/107/0-Concentric_Permission_to_Republish_Tonglu_Li_42.1.PDF|||Fri Jan 14 18:26:23 UTC 2022
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/language_pubs/107/Li_2016_Concentric.pdf|||Fri Jan 14 18:26:24 UTC 2022
dc.source.uri 10.6240/concentric.lit.2016.42.1.02
dc.subject.disciplines Chinese Studies
dc.subject.keywords everyday
dc.subject.keywords history
dc.subject.keywords divine
dc.subject.keywords memory
dc.subject.keywords enlightenment
dc.subject.keywords revolution
dc.title Exploring the Cultural Memory of the Common People: Desire, Violence, and Divinity in Mo Yan's Sandalwood Death
dc.type article
dc.type.genre article
dspace.entity.type Publication
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relation.isOrgUnitOfPublication 4e087c74-bc10-4dbe-8ba0-d49bd574c6cc
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