“the Son of People” and “the Desolate Hero”
Title: “the Son of People” and “the Desolate Hero”: On Zhang Chengzhi (“人民之子”与“荒芜英雄”——张承志论)
LI Chen (李 晨)
PhD 2014 Dissertation
In Chinese contemporary literary arena, Zhang Chengzhi is a unique writer because of his unquenchable idealism. But enormous controversy related to Zhang Chengzhi never comes to an end for the past two decades. The incisive controversy represents the thought conflicting which tear up by the social upheaval, it’s concerning——the position and standpoint of the knowledge in a polarized society, how to handle the new massacre, oppress and the sacrifice, resistance in the post-cold war international system, what future path will China choose under the overlap of the rising country power and the internal and external problems; at the same time, behind these realistic propositions, there are still lurking the different attitudes toward the Socialism historical practice of China and the revolutions in the whole Third World, including the review to the contemporary literature and the ideology and culture context of the past thirty years. Today, approach and talk about Zhang Chengzhi again is undoubtedly very hard, but the very elements on literature, ideology, history and reality which make Zhang Chengzhi became a difficulty, indicate his significance.
This thesis attempts to penetrate the difficulty, in order to do more complete and more ground-breaking research. The foreword will put the “realism” as the core, in order to reorganize, analysis and evaluate the existing writer studies gradually. The first two chapter will deliberately explore the literary generate of the writing principle ‘for the people’ and it’s various meaning, retrospect the profound relevance between the ideal of the Read Guard in 1960s and the writing principle, meanwhile based on the context of the new period literature’s initiation as the reference point, to discuss the special meaning of Zhang Chengzhi’s literature road. Chapter 3 and chapter 4 will combine with History of the Soul and other works on the northwest Islam theme, to analysis the transform between “the son of people “and “the desolate hero” , interpret the inner strain and conflict of the principle “writing for people” , sketched the birth of “the desolate hero” and it’s underlying problem. Chapter 5 and chapter 6 will turn into Zhang Chengzhi’s prose creation, go on grasping his writing principle and life choice, judge the praise and the dispute surround Zhang Chengzhi during the “humanistic spirit” discussion stage, comb several subjects of Zhang Chengzhi’s essay writing since the mid-1990s.
Introduction: Track the footmark of idealism
1. “Where are we heading for?”: The exploration of idealism in the early 1980s
2. New path and crossroads: The division of idealism after mid-1980s
3. Multiple interpretations of idealistic propositions——Zhang Chengzhi studies in the 1995
4. “folk” or “people”: the continuation or re departure of idealism since the mid-1990s
Chapter 1 Literary formation and its writing principles of “the son of people”
1. Newborn’s transform: The Enlightenment of the people and the literary formation of “the son of people”
2. Literary distinction and problems of educated youth’s history: The multiple connotations of the principle of "writing for people"
3. Enlightenment and limitation of Ideological and cultural struggle: The multiple connotations of the principle of "writing for people"
Chapter 2 Source of thought and literary choice about “the son of people”
1. The Red Gguards movement and Zhang Chengzhi
2. Correct the road: The internal relevance between “writing for people” and Red guards ideal
3. Alternative origins of literature in the new period and Zhang Chengzhi’s literary choice
Chapter 3 Zhang Chengzhi’s evade and the born of “desolate hero”
1. “Run, little hurt black horse”: The evade and transition of Zhang Chengzhi
2. “I deviated from you, but I belong to you”: The internal fragmentation of the principle “writing for people”
3. The born of “desolate hero”: Find the Islamic world in the Northwest China
Chapter 4 A new way of writing :The interpretation of History of Spirit
1. The theme is failed to come to any agreement: Literature, history or religion?
2. Humanitarianism of the poor: An intermediary text surpassing the Western Universal Values
3. Depending on each other: “The philosophy of People's Literature” and “the desolate conception of history”
Chapter 5 “Desolate hero” ‘s “combat” : As much praised as blamed during mid-1990s
1. “Combat literature”: Zhang Chengzhi and the “humanistic spirit” discussion
2. Behind the contrasting of two men: Zhang Chengzhi and Wang Shuo
Chapter 6 “Statements within civilization” : Several themes of Zhang Chengzhi's later works
1. Essays about land and water: Frontier region and China
2. “The express of stoning”: Resist new imperialism and seek historical reference
3. Cultural hegemony and the underclass: Knowledge critique and intellectual’s road
Conclusion: Zhang Chengzhi: An epoch figure as a historical reference