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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.275
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.661
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.191

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The narrative strategy of Chinese avant-garde novels: The case of Mo Yan

Qiao Guoqiang1

1Professor at Shanghai International Studies University <qiaobridge@126.com>

Citation Information: Semiotica. Volume 2008, Issue 170, Pages 211–220, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: 10.1515/SEM.2008.057, June 2008

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Initiated mainly by Ma Yuan, Ge Fei, Su Tong, and Mo Yan, the literary avant-garde has played a prominent role in contemporary Chinese literature since the mid-1980s. It advances some revolutionary concepts of narrative, language, and human existence, directing its poignant query into the very truth of life and attempting to exhaust the possible forms of literary expressions. As a kind of cultural force, the flowering of Chinese avant-garde writings helps perceptually and conceptually to transcend the age-old cultural tradition. As one of the representatives of this literary school, Mo Yan has great cultural and literary significance. Most of his writings are credited with a sense of history that is sensitive to the links between man and society but unsympathetic to the tradition of theoretical elaboration or political ideology. This essay will mainly discuss some of Mo Yan's most prominent narrative strategies, such as his conscious choice of cultural position as a writer — to write as one of the ordinary people, rather than to write for the ordinary people. The author believes that Mo Yan's cultural position in his writings is so important that it governs the dynamics of his plots, characters, and themes.

Keywords:: Chinese avant-garde novels; narrative strategy; Mo Yan; Jiu Guo; Sheng Si Pi Lao

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