Wittenberg faculty members to visit campus for lecture on work of Nobel Laureate for Literature

Two Wittenberg University faculty members will be on campus this week to present a lecture on writer and 2012 Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature Mo Yan. Their talk, titled “History in Fiction: Reading the Novels of Nobel Laureate Mo Yan,” will be held Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Clark Hall 309.

Shelley Chan and Howard Choy, both associate professors of Chinese Language and Cultural Studies at Wittenberg University, will discuss how Yan effectively challenges the official history of China in the modern and contemporary periods.

Controversies about Yan have been heated since last October, when the Swedish Academy announced him to be the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.”

The most recent debate was aroused by German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin, who commented at a May conference in Hong Kong, “I cannot come to a thorough understanding of post-1911 Chinese history through his fiction.”

In response to the criticism, the faculty members will discuss Yan’s fictional historiography by focusing on four of his 11 novels, namely, Red Sorghum (1987), Big Breasts and Wide Hips (1996), Sandalwood Death (2001) and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out (2006).

This event is sponsored by Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, English Department, the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and the Asian Studies Program.