Read about the four short stories featured in this issue's special section
"Dangerous Light": Poetry by one of China's most prominent feminist voices
Europe's most prolific translator of Chinese literature is often its harshest critic
As a literary genre, short fiction marks the incipience of modern Chinese literature. The first modern Chinese vernacular story was Lu Xun's 鲁迅 "Diary of a Madman" ("Kuangren riji" 狂人日记), a short story published in 1918. With its compact and efficient form, short fiction is an ideal medium for personal and artistic expression as well as for representing an ever-changing lifeworld. In China, short fiction played a crucial part in the turbulent and transformative period of the early twentieth century, and continued its vital role in the New Period literature (xin shiqi wenxue 新时期文学) that followed the Cultural Revolution in the late '70s and early '80s. However, the 1990s is commonly regarded as the decade for novels, when the eminence of a group of stellar Chinese novelists eclipsed and marginalized short story writers.
But we have every reason to believe that Chinese short fiction is reviving in the new century. Both talented young writers and established veteran writers are pouring their creative power into this literary genre. While the Internet is certainly a new and vast platform for the dissemination of short stories, we have also seen the publication of all sorts of anthologies of contemporary Chinese short fiction, demonstrating its renewed vigor.
Wolfgang Kubin talks to CLT Deputy Editor in Chief, Jonathan Stalling, about his life as a sinologist, poet, and literary translator. After reflecting on his scholarly and poetic background, Kubin explores his many relationships with Chinese poets from the early 1980s to the present, with special attention to his friendship with poet Gu Cheng and how some of that poet’s last works came to be included in the new Chinese Literature Translation Archive founded by CLT at the University of Oklahoma Libraries.