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2 Subaltern Literature: Theory and Practice (2004–2009)

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Chapter Summary

Subaltern literature has created influential works, and its representative authors have also intentionally turned from "pure literature" artistic styles to tell their stories. In doing so, quite a number of the authors demonstrate a new achievement in Chinese writing: proving that literature can have both artistic quality and social influence. Since its emergence, subaltern literature has been in a constant transformation. In the early period, most subaltern works were "problem fiction", or stories about social problems; in the last few years subaltern literature has broken out of that mold. Two particular trends are worth noting. One is that many authors describe the inner world and the spiritual state of the subalterns. From this change in direction came a number of superb works. The second trend is a rise in full-length novels about a range of subaltern issues. Previously all notable works of subaltern literature were novellas and short stories.

Keywords: Chinese writing; Cultural Revolution; Literary Tradition; subaltern literature; theoretical issues

10.1163/9789004260511_004
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