Posts Tagged ‘Liu Zhenyun’

LICHTUNGEN 141 奥地利格拉茨《林中空地》文學雜志

二月 12, 2015

MALALAMartin Winter
EINLEITUNG ZUM CHINESISCH-DOSSIER

Am liebsten würde ich ein ganzes Heft gestalten. Das Cover. Malala gewinnt den Friedensnobelpreis. Apple Daily in Hongkong. Malalas Kopf, rundherum alles Chinesisch.
“Ich möchte weder Rache an den Taliban, noch an irgendeiner anderen Organisation. Ich möchte meine Stimme nur dafür erheben, dass jedes Kind ein Recht auf Unterricht hat. Mein Traum ist, dass alle Kinder, auch die Söhne und Töchter der Terroristen und Radikalen, in die Schule gehen können und Bildung bekommen. Ein Kind, ein Lehrer, ein Buch, ein Stift – kann die Welt verändern.” Hat sie das wirklich gesagt? Ich habe mir ihre Rede angeschaut, auf Youtube. Englisch, Urdu, Pashto. Auf der Bühne mit ihrer Familie. Ihr Bruder, ihre Eltern. Der Bruder wird neidisch sein. Sie bemüht sich sehr um Harmonie, ist wirklich froh, dass auch jemand aus Indien gewonnen hat, der für Kinderrechte einsteht.

Dieses Cover. Nur das Bild. Foto: Apple Daily. Das ist auch schon ein Hinweis auf die Proteste in Hongkong von August bis Dezember 2014. In den USA gab es auch Proteste, für Bürgerrechte, in der Nachfolge von Martin Luther King. Und in Österreich meldet wenigstens das Gratisblatt “Österreich” wieder einmal, dass Strache als Neo-Nazi im Gefängnis war. Strache heißt Furcht und Schrecken. Graz heißt Stadt. Eine wichtige Stadt für die Literatur. Eine gar nicht so heimliche Hauptstadt, zu manchen Zeiten. Für den Schrecken. Für die Literatur, etwas später. Yi Sha 伊沙, der am 17. März in Graz seine Texte vorstellt, die in manchem an Ernst Jandl erinnern, kommt aus Xi’an 西安. Hauptstadt schon vor über 2000 Jahren. Terrakottakrieger. Tang-Gedichte. Von daher kommt Gustav Mahlers Lied von der Erde.

Eine wilde Mischung. Sich der Gewalt stellen. Respekt geben, zeigen, und damit auch fordern. Haben sie das gemeinsam? Yang Lian 楊煉, ein großer Dichter, aktiv und engagiert seit den 1970er Jahren. Liu Zhenyun 刘震云, bis vor zwei Jahren vielleicht bekannter als Mo Yan, auf jeden Fall unterhaltsamer. Richard Claydermann und die Trommeln in den Bergen. Klingt vielleicht eskapistisch. Aber Liu Zhenyun geht es um Aufarbeitung, und um Respekt für die kleinen Leute. Er kommt aus einem armen Dorf und ging zur Armee, um schreiben zu können – wie auch Mo Yan 莫言 und manche andere.

Respekt zeigen, und damit einfordern. Zheng Xiaoqiong 郑小琼 tritt auch am 17. März in Graz auf. Ihre Texte kommen aus den Fabriken in Dongguan. Das ist im Perlflussdelta, nicht weit von Kanton 広州, Hongkong 香港 und Shenzhen 深圳. Xu Lizhi 许立志 sprang in Shenzhen in seinen Tod. Bei Foxconn 富士康, wo sich schon viele Arbeiter und Arbeiterinnen umgebracht haben. Foxconn fertigt Computer und Telefone für Apple. Xu Lizhi war ein sehr begabter Dichter. Bei Zheng Xiaoqiong kommen viele Kolleginnen vor, die nicht mehr am Leben sind. Oft wegen Unfällen. Viele sind auch verschwunden.

Respekt zeigen, und Hoffnung geben. Wie Malala. Viele Frauen sind in diesem Dossier, verglichen mit anderen Kunstsammlungen, nicht nur chinesischen. Fünf Frauen, von elf Autorinnen. Zwei mit Prosatexten. Zheng Xiaoqiong hat sehr gute Reportagen geschrieben, leider habe ich bis zum Redaktionsschluss noch keine fertig übersetzt. Aber von Zheng Xiaoqiong kommt bald ein Buch in Österreich heraus, mit Reportagen und Gedichten. Bei FabrikTransit. Und in Wien gibt es am 20 März am Ostasieninstitut der Universität Wien einen Workshop mit Zheng Xiaoqiong, auf der Grundlage von einer Reportage und anderen Texten. Und eine Lesung gibt es, veranstaltet vom Institut für Sprachkunst der Universität für Angewandte Kunst.

Hao Jingfangs 郝景芳 Science-Fiction-Geschichte ist der längste Text in diesem Dossier. Widerstand. Wie ist Widerstand möglich, wenn aller Widerstand gegen den Staat längst gebrochen wurde?
Kaufen Sie das Heft, lesen Sie, wie es geht. Oder lesen Sie von Ma Lans 马兰 ”Doppeluterus“, und unerklärlichen Spuren im Schnee. Von Liu Xias 刘霞 Charlotte Salomon. Soll noch einer sagen, chinesische Literatur sei nur über China. Alle Beiträge reden über Respekt, und über Rechte. Sehr allgemein.

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Murong Xuecun, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun, Bob Dylan and Rivers of Bablyon

八月 5, 2012

I don’t think Murong Xuecun exaggerates, like one commentator suggested on the MCLC list. Yes, you could encompass many alarming, saddening, embarrassing stories in one speech in other places than China, and people do it all the time, naming names, practices, products. The difference is that in China you will be silenced more swiftly and harshly. Yes, there are exceptions.

Does Mo Yan revel in cruelty like Dan Brown? Does Yu Hua make better use of the cruel parts in his novels? Ok, I’m an interested party, I can’t really say. Would be interesting to analyze in detail. Mo Yan’s novels are great works, at least those I have read, he has written a lot. Deep, cathartic, even accusing use of cruel events and structures. I love Yu Hua’s tone. And I associate Liu Zhenyun in Remember 1942, and Murong Xuecun’s Sky and Autumn speech.

We had Jeremiah in church today, along with that story where a guy goes abroad and gives his gold and silver to his servants. The ones that receive more trade with it, and when their lord comes back, they can give him double. The one who received very little buries it, and when the lord comes back, he digs it out and says, I know you are a harsh governor and reap where you haven’t sown, so I was afraid to lose what you gave me, and kept it double safe. His colleagues get to join the big party, and are rewarded with great posts. He is cast out into the darkness, which is filled with howling and chattering teeth. It’s a horrible story. Yes, it’s a parable, and if you have very little reason for faith, you should still risk it and try to make more, because if you bury it deep in your heart you might lose the little trust you had and received and be cast out into the darkness. But if you are the one who has reason to be afraid, how can you trust your lords? The ones who have more and get more have it easy. Even if they lose everything, they are often rewarded – those powerful managers and functionaries. And if there are enough of those who are cast out, and they get organized, maybe some bishops or other lords might dangle from lamp posts. A Hussite reading, said my wife. Yeah, maybe. No shortage of horrible stories in Chinese literature, like in the Bible.

Jeremiah is even worse, it’s a much bigger story, infinitely more horrible. And there is a detail, not in the Jeremiah parts used in church today, but in the songs in exile. By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, where we wept when we remembered Zion. And in the end the singer wishes, or the singers wish they will one day brutally kill the children of the oppressors. That’s the detail in Murong Xuecun’s speech I was thinking about.

The calling of Jeremiah, where he says he’s too young, and God says he has to go and obey, and open his mouth, and God will put His words into his mouth, and he will be set above nations and kingdoms, so he can pluck out and demolish, ruin and destroy, as well as plant and build. The preacher said she thought of parting and setting off to other posts, and how the Marschallin in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s and Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier sings of what she will have to give up. What a horrible comparison! There is nothing light in Jeremiah. There are no waltzes. Ok, Rivers of Babylon, yes. But with Jeremiah, if you have to mention Austrian writers, Franz Werfel would be much more apt. Werfel was Jewish and used Jeremiah, a lot. Ok, she did mention, much too briefly how nobody would heed Jeremiah, and that it’s actually the most terrible story.

Anyway, when I heard Jeremiah, I thought of Bob Dylan. Masters of War. “How much do I know, to talk out of turn? You might say that I’m young; you might say I’m unlearned. But there is one thing I know, though I’m younger than you, it’s that Jesus would never forgive what you do. […] And I’ll watch while you’re lowered onto your deathbed, and I’ll stand on your grave and make sure that you’re dead.” I don’t know if Dylan thought of Nixon and Kissinger explicitly, when he wrote this song. America’s Vietnam War was raging, and I think the song came out when Nixon and Kissinger where in power. Anyway, there is that Monty Python song about Kissinger. Very explicit. Dylan and Monty Python would not be able to sing these songs in China on stage today, to say nothing about what Chinese artists can do. No, Murong Xuecun doesn’t exaggerate.

x and y

x was cruel

butt is sore

y was able

and suave.

both loved culture

both destroyed

hundred million

butts are cold

MW         March 2007

Yes, I thought of Mao and Nixon, and their sidekicks. But x and y could stand for many people, and could be mentioned anywhere, at least today. Almost anywhere, probably. Anyway, it’s about smoking, you know. Littering. OK, enough for today.

Murong Xuecun, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun and Dan Brown, among others

八月 3, 2012

Click on the image to go to the English version of Murong Xuecun‘s text.

写得很好,我觉得。写得就像说话,谈话。就是演讲,但也像偶尔跟你一块走一段路,跟你分一些心事。

I like Murong Xuecun‘s recent essay (or speech) The Water in Autumn And The Unending Sky very much. He quotes Lu Xun, very aptly. All the quotations are apt, within the text, of course. This kind of essay very easily gets misunderstood as a mere pamphlet. It is a pamphlet. It is meant as a very sharp critique. But just like Lu Xun’s non-fiction pieces, this one is also meant to be read and listened to very carefully.

The Republican era in the decades before 1949 was roundly condemned for its society and government by many writers. Its downfall was expected, and there was so much contempt, in retrospective, that it seemed the new era after 1949 had to be something better, simply because the war and the state of China before had been such disasters. The Chinese writers and commentators of the Late Qing and Republican eras very often understood themselves as patriots, especially in their most acerbic writings. Lu Xun is the most famous example.

I’m not interested in whether Murong Xuecun could write as well or could become as famous as some Republican writers. He is one among many present writers who are publicly critical of the PRC government. Many of the most critical ones are mostly or permanently abroad. I don’t know if Murong Xuecun can continue to live mostly in China. He is certainly more consequent than Han Han, for example. I don’t know what exactly has driven Murong Xuecun to non-fiction. Seems it has been a gradual process.

The present state and the more or less contemporary history of the PRC have been described and inscribed very starkly by many writers ever since the late 1970s, basically by almost everybody in the world of letters, whether or not they still go through the motions of hand-copying Mao’s totalitarian directives in 2012, as some of the most famous have done.

The Republican era was roundly condemned, in fiction and non-fiction. On the other hand, some people see it as an era of freedom, in retrospect. Both could be justified, it seems. Liu Zhenyun, who could be seen as just another member of the establishment and as a non-serious TV- and popular movie-collaborator, is actually very eager to mention the famine of around 1960 in his works. Remember 1942, Liu’s non-fiction story from 1992, has just been filmed. The story is about remembering a local famine that occurred in 1942. It was a terrible year around the globe. The Holocaust in Europe was coming into full swing. War was raging in many places. Total war was going to be proclaimed. 1942 is a year that has received a lot of historical attention. But the context of Chiang Kaishek’s and his government’s decisions about the famine in Henan is not very widely discussed. Liu Zhenyun manages to combine the Republican era and the PRC in a piece of stunning critique of both. The PRC part is mostly implied, but it works. I don’t know how or if this works in the film as well. Anyway the film, wherever it will be shown, will make some people want to dig out the text.

Liu Zhenyun, Murong Xuecun and Yu Hua have something in common in their tone. They are very close to the common people, aside from some stylistic differences. Yu Hua has only recently become well known for his non-fiction, which is not published in the PRC, but available on the internet. Maybe Murong Xuecun will turn to fiction again, and maybe he will continue to live in Mainland China. Doesn’t look like it at the moment, but it seems more feasible than, say, Liao Yiwu returning to China.

Murong Xuecun, Liu Zhenyun and Yu Hua are very conversational in their non-fiction. These pieces are written for popular appeal. They could be seen as very patriotic, in a way. Many very popular works in other languages are patriotic, like Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Non-fiction in Chinese won’t become quite as world-famous, but it has come a long way in the last few years.

Murong Xuecun‘s text is a speech held in Hong Kong. There is a lot of classical Chinese at the end, although it is still very clear. The fragile heart sounds very 19th century to a Western reader. To me, at least. But so what? It’s not Wordsworth or Blake or one of the Shelleys, but it’s going in that direction. There have always been many kinds of writing at one particular time.


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