Reference : Grotesque humour and undignified Life in Yu Hua’s novels
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : Literature
Multilingualism and Intercultural Studies
Grotesque humour and undignified Life in Yu Hua’s novels
Kohns, Oliver mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
American Comparative Literature Association: Annual Meeting 2017
from 6-7-2017 to 9-7-2017
American Comparative Literature Association
[en] Yu Hua’s novels, especially "To Live" (活着) und "Brothers" (兄弟), are characterized by their preference for grotesque scenes in which protagonists face situations of humiliation and degradation. In "Brothers", the protagonist Song Gang has to undergo a surgery and becomes provided with female breasts, in order to promote an ointment for breast augmentation. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, the deformation of the human body is typical for grotesque humor (as can be shown in Rabelais). Bakthin's description of grotesque humor, however, reveals a certain affinity towards totalitarian politics, and this is certainly true also for Yu Hua. In his novels, grotesque Humor is associated with a political situation in which human dignity is constantly getting undermined. As Yan Lianke puts it, living in modern china is categorically "without dignity": This statement is confirmed in Yu Hua’s novels. The texts deal with the protagonists’ search for dignity, and at the same time they explore the possibility of critical writing under conditions of political control.
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