Journal Articles

Winter 2003 - Vol.34/No.1
Literary Study as Glocalization
Author : J. Hillis Miller
Keywords : intertextuality, cultural difference, literary theory, local culture, glocalization, Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady, kissing, speech acts
Literary study combines the local and the global in a way that might be called “giocalization.” Literary theory is apparently global, though it always has local features, while the cultural assumptions of literary works are often clearly local. This makes difficulties for the understanding of works not from one’s own culture. The kiss at the end of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady is a good example. A number of hypothetical explanations may be proposed for why that kiss brings the heroine to decide to return to her bad husband, but the novel does not unequivocally support any of them. This undecidability about the causes of a decision arises from the disjunction between cognition and performative language or act.
Cross-Cultural Intertextuality
Author : Douwe Fokkema
Keywords : intertextuality, cultural difference, aesthetic value, readers’ response, reception theory, interpretation of texts, democratization, textual/discursive unity
In this paper I discuss changes which in the course of time have occurred in the terminology of literary criticism and literary theory—terms which were popular some time ago are no longer so, having been replaced by other terms. It is suggested that changes in terminology can be explained by an interest in new problems. I deal in particular with the concept of intertextuality, which at present seems appropriate for discussing the problem of contemporary poetics in different cultures. In order to make things more concrete I refer to two recent Chinese novels: Mo Yan’s The Republic of Wine Yiu guo, 1992) and Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain (Ling shan, 1990). Finally, the relation between intertextuality and the aesthetic effect it may have is discussed. It seems that in “aesthetic criticism” focused on texts with a high degree of intertextuality, the notion of the unity of the text has been replaced by the idea of a unifying discourse.
From Difference to Complementarity: The Interaction of Western and Chinese Studies
Author : Kang-i Sun Chang
Keywords : difference, complementarity, sinology, gender studies
The purpose of this paper is to argue that, under the influence of cultural globalization, Western criticism and traditional Chinese studies are becoming two increasingly closely related areas of knowledge: It is important to consider not only their differences but also their complementarity. The author, from a sinological point of view, questions the deliberate overlooking of voluminous publications in gender studies produced by China scholars in different areas. She thinks that there are two possible reasons for such negligence: one is the general belief that, being the cultural “other’—and thus the forever marginal—traditional China can be only of limited use in the study of “universal” women and men. The other assumption is that traditional China, being far removed in time, existed in a world completely different from that of modernity. Due to this cultural imbalance in gender scholarship, cultural globalization has effectively become a “one-way process.” But we need a “two-way process” in comparative studies, which might after all lead us to discover that the West and Asia are not mutually exclusive but mutually empowering. Such a two-way process in the transmission of gender criticism could also be applied, then, to other fields in comparative literature.
Womanhood, Authorship and Intertextuality in Contemporary Chinese Women’s Poetry
Author : Jeanne H. Zhang
Keywords : womanhood, gender, subjectivity, sexuality, poetic, voice, authorship, creativity, intertextuality
The issues of womanhood, authorship and intertextuality are closely related in women’s writing. Gender awareness permeates the creative writing of contemporary women poets. The loss of the author's authority over the meaning of texts jeopardizes the notion of authorship but generates a complex intertextuality in modern Chinese literature. Chinese woman poets’ relationship to their own culture and history means a negotiation of cultural possibilities, a creative reception of or resistance to societal and historical gender expectations, and a poetic re-invention of female identity. For poets like Shu Ting, Yi Lei, Wang Xiaoni, Zhang Zhen and Tang Yaping, writing is meant for self-articulation and self-definition. In order to re-construct a (feminine) poetics in the aftermath of the traditional (male) political domination of Chinese literature, these writers are actively reconsidering the questions of gender, sexuality, and poetic authority in the course of writing. While articulating the gendered self, they are confronted with the dual postmodern anxiety of authorship and influence. In an overpopulated literary environment, these women poets are returning to the Chinese past to open upa new space for their writing while also evoking foreign models in a Chinese context.
Gazing at the Moon and Back at the Ground of Globality: Observations on a Poem by Huang Zunxian
Author : globalization, globality, lifeworld, ontological ground, Huang Zunxian, moon image, identity, difference
Keywords :
Here I analyze a poem by Huang Zunxian and through it explore the question of the “globality” of Chinese people. For my assumption is that globalization theory must at last find its ground in globality, the individual’s experience of his own state of being. Not only from abstract thinking but also from personal life experience, the individual must profoundly “see” the global transformation of the world. Huang Zunxian’s experience of the moon-image is a very “Chinese” experience. Here the poet describes his changing ‘vision” of the moon in a series of stages: (1) the original experience of identification with the moon; (2) the shift from identification to (self-moon) difference; (3) the longing for identification in the context of difference; (4) the return to the state of difference through individual life experience; (5) reflecting on the possibility of pursuing identity-in-difference. We find from this poem that the Chinese experience of globality contains oppositions or tensions: ancient/modern, Chinese/Western, identification/difference. Thus we see that globality takes the individual’s experience of his/her lifeworld as its very ground.
Salvation through Surrender: A Textual Analysis of Global Cultural Economy
Author : Wu Jing
Keywords : globalization, cultural studies, orientalism, national cinema, Chinese cinema, global market
This paper attempts to delineate the sometimes subtle, sometimes direct influence of transnational capital in the formation and transformation of the so-called “fifth generation” filmmaking style. Through a comparative textual analysis of two films made by Chen Kaige at different times, the author tries to capture the shadow of the global market—increasingly a shaping force for Chen's movies—as this is registered in the shifts and twists of the signifying processes in the two films. The claim will be that in the second film, Chen’s desire to critically engage and intervene in the ambiguous and complex socio-cultural space of a China in historical transformation has been diminished, and redirected toward producing more obvious oppositions and thus toward greater stability of identities. The director's serious commitment to reform in the first film has dissipated in the second, where any possibility of real change is dismissed. The point is that the global market demands the stabilization of representation(s) of the quintessential Chinese, the eternal Orient, the cultural space of the “other.” “Old China” need no longer be deployed as an historical moment for reflection in order that we may transcend it; it is now depicted as an aesthetic object for our enjoyment, our self-recognition through gazing at the fantastic otherness of a far-away culture.