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"Literature should reflect the basic principles of our existence": A mediality analysis of Mo Yan´s Life and Death are Wearing Me Out
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Film and Literature.
2018 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to use an intermedial theory to analyse and contextualize embodiment and violence in the Chinese author Mo Yan’s Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. I use Jørgen Bruhn’s mediality model, introduced in The Intermediality of Narrative Literature: Medialities Matter (2016), to analyse medial phenomena such as intra- and intermediality in the novel. Bruhn’s model mainly covers relations between several media and within a single medium. The focus of this study lies on the blending of different media within the novel. My hypothesis is that the depiction of embodied violence in the novel is a literary strategy, based on cognitive functions and Chinese oral traditions to communicate historical events, as well as through an intermedial depiction of those events, a way to avoid censorship. Of particular importance to this study are medial phenomena connected to visualization of memories, and intermediality as discipline a voice between media texts, to establish how a literary text through narrative techniques can create an illusion of cinematic blending. I see this as an illustration of the historical hierarchical struggle between art forms. This is a broader perspective on literary depiction in Mo Yan’s novel than generally can be found in interpretations originating in a Western discourse.

The result of my study shows that medial phenomena such as inter- and intramediality are woven into a narrative theme of remembrance of historical political events. Such memories are communicated through depictions of embodied violence, as well as the impact of trauma on anonymous bodies reminiscent of cinematic techniques, heightened by the metafictive voice of Mo Yan within the novel. It is a perspective that is also accentuated through auditory and visual elements that recall the ability of audio-visual media techniques to create identification with exposed bodies through close-up depictions of body and violence. Hence, Mo Yan has constructed a grid of medial phenomena in the novel through which he is able to convey historical processes without risking censorship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 34
Keywords [sv]
Mo Yan, Life and Death are Wearing Me Out, Ximen Nao och hans sju liv, inter- och intermedialitet, medial projection, formal imitation, kroppslighet- och våldsmediering, kinesisk litteratur och muntlig tradition, polyfoni, postkolonial teori och intermedialitet
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-76026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-76026DiVA, id: diva2:1219572
Subject / course
Litteraturvetenskap
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Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-16 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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