Dissertation
Dissertation > Literature > Chinese Literature > The body of literature reviews and research > Novel > Ancient Novel

On Emotional Writing in Chinese Novels in Early Twentieth Century

Author DengZuo
Tutor ZhangGuangMang
School Nanjing University
Course Contemporary Chinese Literature
Keywords late Qing Dynasty novels novels in the early period of the Republic ofChina emotional writing Wu Jianren Xu Zhenya
CLC I207.41
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Early twentieth century was an emotional literary age for China. When Liang Qichao sparkplugged the Novel Revolution, in which politics novel, history novel and social novel were advocated, there also came a writing trend of emotion. A large group of writers, including Fu lin, Wu Jianren, Xu Zhenya and so on, created a bunch of Xie Qing Novels and shed great light on the exploration of the essence of emotion. The so-called emotional writing is the eminent expression of emotion in texts written by novelists in early twentieth century(1900-1917). It is a limit of writing theme, which acts as the core of Xie Qing novels, as well as a way of interpreting, in which writers composed their works.Based on different definitions of emotion, emotional writing in early twentieth century can be divided into two types:one represented by Wu Jianren’s and Lin Shu’s novels, presumed its emotional object as an identity or role; and the other represented by Xu Zhenya’s, Li Dingyi’s, Zhou Shoujuan’s novels, freed its emotional object who participated in emotional relations as an individual from regular characters and actions. The transition of these two types manifests that individualism though not adopting western concepts like freedom or individual had still appeared in traditional form before the May Fourth.The reception of Hen Hai shows that different types of emotional writing were linked up in a sense. Purity, sentimentalism and regret, as the main reviews about Henhai, virtually led to the second type. In emotional experience, people exceeded social bounds and were stuck fast in an out-of-control plight. Unable to get back to orderly life or get out of the difficult situation by being oblivious of emotion, people were always induced to tragedy and the admiration of emotion ultimately resulted in its opposite. Emotion, being experienced as the essence of humanity, became a sort of desire people desperately aspired but absolutely defied.After1917, emotional writing, influenced by the May Fourth New Literature, underwent a change. New Literature novelists rebuilt the concept of love, cut off the relations between emotional writing and traditional mode of thinking, and legalized emotion by providing it with biological basis and seeing it as the comfort of difficult life. From then on, unreasonable ethic and social principles, replacing emotion itself, were supposed to be responsible for the tragedy in an emotional relation. The change of emotional writing resulted from New Literature’s influence as well as Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies’ novelists’voluntary participation. Moreover, the development of emotion also required an undertaker to account for the tragedy and get rid of psychologic burden. The way of interpreting emotion in early twentieth century were finally eliminated with the interaction of several elements and became an ancient civilization relic which was beautiful but unable to be restored.

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