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The Changing Patterns Of The Bildungsroman In Modern Chinese Literature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with an examination of biographical and autobiographical writing in pre-modern Chinese literature, and continues with an investigation of the changing patterns of chengzhang xiaoshuo during two periods: from the May Fourth era to 1966, and from the 1980s to the early years of the twenty-first century. The author's analysis demonstrates that changing narrative patterns in modern Chinese coming-of-age narratives reflect the way the maturation of Chinese youth is entangled with their contemporary history. The chapter argues that the trajectory of the Chinese Bildungsroman from the May Fourth era to 1966 reveals the process by which individuality and subjectivity gradually become subordinate to the discourse of revolution and collectivity. It provides a historical background for the ensuing discussions of Bildungsroman fiction by Su Tong and Yu Hua, as well as a backdrop against which the two authors' works are shown to be both tragic and parodistic.

Keywords: Bildungsroman; chengzhang xiaoshuo; modern chinese literature



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