Suffering and Pursuit: The Intellectual’s Personal Transformation in the Fiction of the Rightist Writers in Modern China
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractFor those with interest in the making of modern China, the lives and thoughts of Chinese intellectuals provide a crucial dimension to understand the history and culture of Chinese society. Among a series of sociopolitical movements in the twentieth century, the 1957 Anti-Rightist Campaign notably redefined and reshaped the intellectual’s social identity, cultural and political obligations. Out of the crucible of political persecution and thought remolding through labor, Chinese intellectuals’ endurance through the catastrophe and their continuing presence throughout today’s Chinese society offers an impetus to approach the significance and limitation of personal transformation through suffering. This dissertation contextualizes the examination of Chinese intellectuals’ transformative experience in the fields of literature, history, and sociology. Based on the textual analysis of six fictional works by three rightist writers, Cong Weixi, Zhang Xianliang, and Wang Meng, the dissertation argues that the personal transformation brought about by historical and personal tragedies motivated and carried many intellectuals through hardships and adversities. It also reveals the subtleties and complexities of personal transformation through suffering, which further provide insights into the dynamics and tensions of the experiences of imprisonment, thought remolding, and literary production.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies