Posts Tagged ‘Lu Xun’

CALL OF THE WILD – 李东泽 Li Dongze

十月 22, 2020

Li Dongze

Although it was very annoying
he still filled in the form
as they wanted it.
Half a year later
the member list of the Writers‘ Society
didn’t include him.
He felt insulted
and cursed himself,
served him right,
like a wild tiger
who applies to be kept in a pen.
A moment later
he comforted himself
it is exactly because
this way they let you
keep your last bit of pride,
why shouldn’t he be proud just a little?
Then suddenly he thought of
Ah Q.

August 2020
Translated by MW, Oct. 2020


早 [zǎo]

四月 4, 2018

Wang Youwei

Mr. Lu, in charge for the emperor,
retired and built a family temple,
which became my primary school.
Our desks were made from the coffins
down in his grave.
That campaign was called
Smash The Four Olds!
I was often late,
like the great Lu Xun,
and also like him carved a 早
the character for “early”,
with my pocket knife into the rosewood.

Translated by MW, 4/4/18


Wang Youwei

Herr Lu, kaiserlicher Beamter im Ruhestand
baute einen Familientempel.
Das war meine Volksschule.
Unsere Tische in der Klasse
kamen von Särgen in seinem Grab,
im Rahmen der Kampagne
“Zerschlagt die vier Alten!”.
Ich kam oft zu spät zum Unterricht.
Und wie der Dichter Lu Xun
schnitzte ich mit meinem Taschenmesser
in mein Pult aus Mahagoni
das Zeichen für “früh”.


Übersetzt von MW am 1. April 2018

寫政治詩歌 Poetry politics, Greater Austria and Greater China

九月 8, 2016




瑞士蘇黎世新報編輯說可惜他的報紙不再關心文藝,只關心輿論一類的,所以書評很少了,也不再登詩歌。就是近半年的變革。我覺得廖亦武和赫塔·米勒(Herta Müller)等等應該很適合這樣的氣氛。關心輿論應該是關心政治。廖亦武從八九年以后不能不激烈關心, 米勒從小也許也是跟廖亦武一樣終不能脫掉政治。二十一世紀得了諾貝爾德語女作家有兩位,除了米勒第二位是奧地利女作家耶利內克 Elfriede Jelinek,她也一直非常關心政治,而且也寫詩,非常好的詩,雖然寫的非常不同。米勒的詩歌是實驗性的,耶利內克寫話劇和小說用的語言是非常實驗性的。在台灣說葉利尼克,在台灣一直有人研究和翻譯她。大陸和台灣很多方面非常不同,在台灣關心政治很多就是左派,像一九三十四十年代中國詩人艾青,雖然現在台灣關心政治就是先關心台灣,其他都不能先注意它。而在大陸當代的先鋒詩歌從六十年代到現在都有地下的成分。需要獨立,需要脫掉主流社會的政治口號心態。其實我覺得詩歌,就是活性的、跟當代社會有直接關系的詩歌無論在哪裡都有地下的成分。艾青在1979年寫柏林牆就直接否定柏林牆,不管什麼左派歷史問題等等,至少從表面說好像不管。

做藝術都需要獨立的心態,一 直關心政治怎麼寫詩?不過有的人可以。布萊希特 (Brecht),還有傅立特(Erich Fried), 廖亦武2015年秋天來維也納就是參加傅立特文學節。台灣詩人鴻鴻翻譯了傅立特的詩,尤其是叫做《暴利》一首(Die Gewalt),鴻鴻在2014年三月十八在台北參加占领立法院的事件就引用這首詩。傅立特是奧地利人,還有一位著名的二十世紀奧地利詩人楊豆(Ernst Jandl) 也非常關心政治,寫得很成功。楊豆很有幽默的成分,雖然大部分作品不一定讓你笑。我翻譯伊沙就經常想到楊豆。昨天轉給一位瑞典的女博士生的這兩年廖亦武的詩歌,就重新碰到很多我這幾年關心的事情和詩歌。劉霞最好的詩歌就是2013年錄像裡的兩首一類的,像《無題》那顆樹。獨立的,不直接說什麼政治,但也許說得很直接,不能再直接。我在2011年左右那時候想讓奧地利的中國朋友翻譯米勒的詩,雖然他多半不寫新詩,寫古體詩,但是我給他解釋德語他可以翻譯成中文新詩。也許很荒謬的念頭,最后沒成功。我那時候覺得是流亡詩人貝嶺的錯,因為一直不管詩歌,從不願意給意見,只關心書怎麼出版,在台灣的小出版社。硬不關心文本。

有很多人在文學方面很喜歡只關心文本,偶爾才關心社會政治問題。我好像從來從骨子裡感覺到詩歌文藝,尤其是多語言的、跨越世界各地的文藝是革命性的,雖然革命這詞匯一直就非常可疑,魯迅AQ關心革命等等。我自己在中學時候被楊豆的詩歌振醒,這詩歌其實有很具體的奧地利和德國當代歷史內容,但他主要是實驗性的。實驗 性是它的革命性。而且是跨越語言、跨越時代的獨一無二的怪詩。把華茲華斯(William Wordsworth)的一首著名的浪漫感情詩歌說翻譯它的『表面』,其實好像只翻譯聲音,找從聲音很相似的德語詞匯就好像用德語念出英語的原文。就像奧巴馬這個中文詞匯只管聲音,跟奧巴馬三個字其他內容和用處沒關系。但其實楊豆那首詩有具體的當代歷史政治內容。只是我最早聽到就是它的荒謬,是兩三個中學生自己發現的東西,在語文課等等那時候肯定不能碰到。就是一種爵士音樂的東西。這是我寫詩的根本。關心詩歌、翻譯詩歌等等都來自於這種經驗。


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.


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.

Ai Weiwei

四月 8, 2011

Interesting. Please click on the Global Times link (also at the bottom), read the article and then click on the “Related” links under the article. These other stories add a lot of perspective, through earlier and mostly positive Global Times coverage of Ai Weiwei’s various projects and activities. I remember seeing Lian Chan 連戰 on TV in Taiwan in the 1980s*. He was prime minister then, I think. Kept saying “Yi fa bali! 依法辦理”. To be handled according to law. Everything should be handled according to law. This was already after martial law 戒嚴 was lifted 解嚴 in 1987. But many opposition figures and activists were still in prison (they had a prison island, “Green Island” 綠島, for example) or barred from returning to Taiwan. Martial law had been lifted, but many laws from the One-Party-rule were still on the books, and actually still enforced (See the poem “After Martial Law Was Lifted – In Commemoration of Lifting Martial Law in Taiwan on July 15th, 1987” by Li Qin’an [李勤岸 – 解嚴以後 – 一九八七年七月十五日臺灣解嚴紀念] Now which law is the Global Times article referring to? Let US bake our cake of social progress and eat it at the same time, and have it OUR way, and let nobody in the world talk too much about it, because this is the LAW. Right?
Very interesting how they keep on contradicting themselves. “Was said to have been detained”. Was he, or was he not? Maybe just kidnapped? “It was reported his departure procedures were incomplete.” Interesting. So which law will not concede before Ai Weiwei? Which departure procedures law? No, it’s THE LAW. Shoot first, deflect questions later.* Happens in every society.



Global Times (4/6/11):
Law will not concede before maverick
法律不会为特立独行者弯曲_评论_环球网:, most discussed on @dujuan99/china ( See also China Geeks (4/8/11).

魏京生: 从艾未未事件看中国法制的演变

Geremie Barme on Ai Qing and Ai Weiwei

Nude photos and other incriminating activities of Ai Weiwei

It’s really very simple, and even seems a bit tedious when you think about it. Yet I go on watching these shows. What else would you have me look at, dear readers?

Salman Rushdie

Who is afraid of Ai Weiwei?(Language Log)

貝嶺:裸體公民艾未未 (China Times, also in Ming Pao)

Naked Citizen Ai Weiwei (Ming Pao, Hong Kong, May 2011)

Photo by Katharina Hesse

There are many relations of this case to other arrests like the one on April 8 of Zhao Lianhai 趙連海, speaker for parents whose children had been poisoned by tainted milk.
Zhao had been released on parole after beeing imprisoned for “disturbing the peace”. But on April 6, he uplaoded a moving video, holding his child and trying to make a public statement at home.


*This blog entry started out as a post on the MCLC email listserv. A lively discussion ensued. Andrew Field pointed out that Lu Xun 魯迅 and many other modern writers were banned in Taiwan under martial law. James Dew, Tim Wong, Kirk Denton, Christopher Lupke and others remembered how foreign students read these writers in a special room at Taiwan University, and how Chen Yingzhen 陳映真 connected to Lu Xun and the May Fourth tradition. Chen was imprisoned for “pro-communist activities”. Tai Jingnong 台静农 (1903~1990), a well-known writer and painter in Taiwan, was originally a student of Lu Xun.

* Jerome Cohen uses a similar expression in the South China Morning Post (4/27/11): “Second, it also seems clear that, whatever the evidence being assembled about tax evasion or other charges, this was not the motivation for Ai’s detention. This case started out on a ‘detain first and look for justification later’ basis.”

Chinese rock music related to Ai Weiwei:, via Jeroen Groenewegen

南都社论: 躺在时间的河流上怀念他们

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