Accustomed to reading how to "open" modern literary classics through mobile phones.


Accustomed to reading how to "open" modern literary classics through mobile phones.

  The way people read through mobile phones has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are convenience and large quantity. On the negative side, it may be easy to make thinking fragmented and reading fast food. How long have you been impatient to read the whole book — —

  How to "Open" Modern Literary Classics

  Borges, a famous Argentine novelist, said: "Classics are books that a nation or several nations have decided to read for a long time. They are books that people from generation to generation read with early enthusiasm and mysterious loyalty for different reasons." Since the late Qing dynasty, modern literature has only been more than a hundred years. Compared with the ancient literary classics that have been precipitated for thousands of years, the modern literary classics that have been washed out for more than a hundred years are very different.

  Facing the classics of modern literature,

  What should we do?

  First of all, the simplest thing is to face the work directly. Classics are sometimes daunting, so we should have the sincerity and patience to read them. Secondly, the works will be included in the coordinates of literary history. Place the work in a broader coordinate system instead of understanding it in isolation. Third, look for gaps and prototypes. What is the gap in this work? Where is the unexpected place of the author? Can a work extract a certain prototype until it finds its own way of dialogue with the work? The so-called application method or looking for a gap prototype is an attempt to establish an understanding based on one’s own feelings about the work. Reading classics is actually a way to express ourselves, rather than reading classics as a task. It is the classics that constitute the background color of a person’s humanistic quality. Therefore, classics should eventually return to the way of dialogue between readers and works. When you use all kinds of reading methods freely, you may find your own way to talk about classics. This way belongs to you alone, and no one can take it away.

  Rearrange the order for Chinese literature in the 20th century.

  Lu Xun, Guo Moruo, Mao Dun, Ba Jin, Lao She and Cao Yu (hereinafter referred to as "Lu, Guo, Mao, Ba, Lao and Cao") are six modern literary writers we are familiar with. Until today, our understanding of modern literature is still in the hierarchical order of literary history laid by these six writers. They occupy an important position in the territory of modern literary history. However, according to the classic view of constructivism, their classic pattern is not static.

  The selection of "Top 100 Chinese Novels in the 20th Century" was a literary classic construction activity in the late 1990s. At that time, the 20th century was coming to an end, and Hong Kong’s Asia Weekly invited heavyweight scholars and writers to jointly select the top 100 Chinese novels in the 20th century. Personally, I attach great importance to this list, because the judges include not only mainland scholars in China, but also scholars from Hong Kong and Taiwan and overseas scholars. It provides a larger evaluation field of vision. After the selection results were released, we found that the first place was Lu Xun’s Scream, the second was Shen Congwen’s Border Town, the third was Lao She’s Camel Xiangzi, the fourth was Zhang Ailing’s Legend, the fifth was Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged, the sixth was Mao Dun’s Midnight, and the seventh was Bai Xianyong’s Taipei Man. — Liu E’s Travels of the Old Handicapped.

  These ten classic works coincide with the modern literary classics we have known before, but they are somewhat unexpected: For example, Taipei Man, Biography of Hulan River and Travel Notes of the Old Disabled are not only on the list, but also in the top ten! This result surprised some people. Moreover, among these 100 works, there are many works by popular writers such as Zhuan Lou Zhu, Jin Yong, Gu Long, Liang Yusheng, Qiong Yao, Yi Shu and Li Bihua. "Hundreds of Excellent China Literature Books in a Hundred Years" is also a reliable classic reading bibliography. These are the 100 most important Chinese literature books in the 20th century jointly recommended by China mainland scholars and publishing institutions in the 1990s.

  Not all masterpieces

  Are the best works of writers.

  Masterpieces are often the guiding choice of classic texts. Generally speaking, masterpieces are works that represent the writer’s creative level, but not all masterpieces are the best works of writers. When evaluating a work in the history of literature, the social influence of the work is a very important consideration index, but a work with social influence may not necessarily have a higher literary level.

  For example, when we talk about new poetry, we will definitely talk about Hu Shi’s Trial Collection, because Hu Shi is the first person to write new poetry in a century, and there would be no modern new poetry without Trial Collection. However, if we take the new poems in Trial Collection as the standard of new poems, it is obviously to reduce the standard of new poems to the toddler stage. Therefore, although Hu Shi’s works are masterpieces of new poetry, they are definitely not the essence of new poetry. Another example is a mature writer like Ba Jin. His Home is indeed an excellent work, but it is not the most mature work of Ba Jin. Ba Jin’s writing can be divided into three stages: youth, middle age and old age. Young Ba Jin wrote the love trilogy Fog Rain Electricity and the torrent trilogy Home Spring Autumn. However, Ba Jin’s best works should be the trilogy of life "Cold Night", "The Fourth Ward" and "Resting Garden" written in middle age.

  Comparing Home with Cold Night, there is no doubt that Home is more influential, because it provides a proposition of the times, showing the collapse of a big family and the tragedy of youth enlightenment. Therefore, Home has a strong social response. Ba Jin, who is in the period of youth writing, has the first emotion, but when emotion occupies the center of writing, it is an obstacle to the depth of writing. Therefore, if you read Home carefully, you will feel that there are both young people’s unique enthusiasm and youth’s unique shallowness. In the 1940s, Ba Jin’s creation entered a mature stage. Cold Night is a story about a man who is caught between his mother and his wife. But this is only the surface of the story. What the novel really wants to express is that during the war years, young people full of blood gradually lost their dreams under the torture of life. Cold Night was born at the time of the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, and the whole novel was very sad. People usually think that the Anti-Japanese War has been won, the suffering has ended and a great nation has stood up. But in Cold Night, Ba Jin put forward a profound proposition: Does the victory of the Anti-Japanese War mean that all the problems in life can be solved? Ba Jin stepped into middle age from youth. Although his emotion changed from enthusiasm to condensation, it made his works more infectious and moved us more. Cold Night is also Ba Jin’s masterpiece, but compared with Home, readers are unfamiliar with it.

  A good writer should constantly break

  Readers’ reading expectation

  There is an important concept in reception aesthetics called "reading expectation", which means that before we enter a literary work, we will have a general expectation for this work by virtue of our existing reading accumulation. For example, we haven’t read Lu Xun’s novels before, but from our understanding of Lu Xun, we know that Lu Xun is a great enlightener, thinker, revolutionary and a great writer. These constitute the most basic judgment for us to read Lu Xun. When Lu Xun’s works conform to this judgment, we will think that our judgment and understanding are correct. On the contrary, we will be surprised: Lu Xun actually wrote like this!

  Formalism focuses on the artistic expression of the text and the strength of the form of the work. For example, when we look at a work, we feel that it is very old-fashioned and lacking in merit. And sometimes we will find that some works are very clever, similar to those we have read before, but different, and feel very novel. In fact, this is the so-called defamiliarization — — Our existing literary understanding is not enough to explain it, and it presents us with new challenges.

  For example, Lu Xun’s New Stories, many of which are very playful, are not quite the same as our understanding of Lu Xun’s serious style. This constitutes the so-called defamiliarization. A good writer should constantly break the reader’s reading expectation. Therefore, great writers often don’t follow the old habits, but have multiple faces. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great masterpiece, but Marquez has not only One Hundred Years of Solitude, but also excellent works such as Love in Cholera Period, Colonel who has no one to write to him, Old Man with Giant Wings and Dead Leaves. On closer reading, you will find that the styles of these works are quite different. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the pinnacle of magical realism, while The Colonel who has no one to write to him is a solid realistic narrative, and Love in Cholera Period is called "the greatest love novel in the world". If you read Love in Cholera with the expectation of reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, you will find that it completely disappoints your expectation, which in turn gives us a brand-new reading experience. Marquez is always challenging our reading expectations. Formalism criticism focuses on whether a work breaks our expectations and provides a strange reading experience.

  The works of women writers

  Suitable for interpretation from feminist perspective

  Today, men’s discrimination against women still exists and is often ignored by us. Feminism tries to embody this discrimination in the context of our ignorance. Therefore, the works of female writers are very suitable to be interpreted from a feminist perspective. For example, Zhang Ailing’s works sometimes give us an anti-feminist feeling.

  In "Love in a Fallen City", Bai Liusu tried every means to marry Fan Liuyuan, and they tried every means and struggled. Finally, the Pacific War broke out, Hong Kong fell, overturned a city and made a love. From the standpoint of feminism, the ultimate meaning of a woman’s life is not given by a man, but what Bai Liusu wants in Love in the City is to marry Fan Liuyuan. Isn’t this an anti-feminist writing? This anti-feminist writing reflects Zhang Ailing’s irony of feminism. Zhang Ailing is actually standing in a higher feminist position. She believes that Bai Liusu’s story really falls into the so-called "feminist dilemma", that is, it seems that a woman can only achieve perfection in a certain sense if she is attached to a man. Zhang Ailing expressed her distrust of radical feminism by describing the process that Bai Liusu tried to enter the role that male chauvinism wanted women to enter.

  Lu Yin and Xiao Hong’s works are full of feminism, but such feminism can’t really change the situation of women. Comparing Xiao Hong and Zhang Ailing, Xiao Hong’s feminism is highly prominent. Before she died, she said a few words, one of which was "the sky of women is low". Xiao Hong, trapped in the depths of feminism, met different men all her life, but never gained emotional security. Zhang Ailing is different from her. Zhang Ailing understands the illusion and imagination of this feminist writing, so her Love in the City expresses her feminist position in an ironic way. This is an important angle for us to interpret literary works.

  Avoid falling into the "orientalist trap"

  Adopting the perspective of colonialism and post-colonialism, this is a new perspective to interpret the text with the development of cultural studies. Let’s take a movie example to illustrate post-colonialism. The fifth generation directors, such as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, made many so-called "folk customs" in their films in the 1980s, such as the sedan chair and wine offering in Red Sorghum, the light sealing and foot beating in Red Lantern Hanging High, and the rain praying in Chen Kaige’s film Yellow Land, etc. The fifth generation directors hope that the oriental culture will be revived on the screen. However, if we look at it from the post-colonial point of view of Said and others, when the fifth-generation directors desperately show the folk wonders of the oriental nation in their films, they just fall into the so-called Orientalism trap.

  What is Orientalism? Generally speaking, westerners’ understanding of the East does not come from actual observation of the East, but from reading and watching literary and artistic works that describe the East. Westerners artificially establish the leading position of the West, and when they describe the East, they often create a so-called "grade difference" — — The East is a fascinating foreign land waiting for the West to discover. The meaning of this sentence is that only when the west discovers it can the beauty of the East be presented. This is the so-called Orientalism. Zhang Yimou and the fifth generation of directors he represents, in their films, present the orient, which is actually a kind of so-called self-orientalization. They present China’s aesthetic feeling in the way of "self-orientalization", at the same time, they give westerners a way to understand and observe China through movies, which will inevitably lead westerners to fail to objectively and truly understand China.

  A similar situation occurs in literary works. For example, Jing M.Guo’s Tiny Times, which is deeply loved by young people, can also be viewed from a post-colonial perspective as a book with a wide reading rate and influence among young people. Under the background of globalization, Jing M.Guo completed his own naming for this era. He named this era of globalization as a small era, reminding us to rethink the center and edge.

  (Ma bing The author is a professor at the College of Literature of Shandong University, and the article is selected from "Reading Classics" by Shanda Literature Life Museum.


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