The Last Epic Storyteller and Fictional Rewriting in the People’s Republic of China

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


My paper deals with the multiple roles of Li Jieren born in 1891 and died in 1962 as a novelist, public servant, and cultural elite in Sichuan-Chengdu during the intense political turmoil in 1950s Communist China. It explores the dilemma in the author’s literary and political life when both the writer and his historical works were under political stress. Li wrote his massive fictional trilogy to serve as testimonies to the monumental historical transformations of native Sichuan societies China’s Republican Revolution in 1911. Under political changes in 1950s Communist China, Li had to drastically rewrite his trilogy. I seek to draw a broader picture of Li’s private and public lives to examine the author’s tactics of alignment with the changing institutions and frustrated attempts in maintaining creative security in the process of rewriting. How did Li’s public persona (as Chengdu’s Vice-Mayor) intervene into his creative horizons in fiction writing when he devoted himself to administering his beloved city and inscribing cultural memories of the native city in novel writing? The paper highlights the phenomenon of ‘rewriting,’ when the writer reworked on his own texts under changing historical circumstances, as an important ‘cultural practice’ in the early PRC period.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Intellectual: A Phenomenom in Multidimensional Perspectives
EditorsNikita Basov, Georg Simet, Joroen van Andel, Sechaba Mahlomaholo, Vhonani Netshandama
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781848880276
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2010


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