Hongtao from Beijing

ot only "▓portrays" what is going on in China today, ▓but "delivers th

Normal U▓niversity were sel

e feeling of experiencing it, often in▓ emotionally intense settings su

ecting the novellas for th

ch as love ▓or trauma," said Laughlin."When it is▓ very good, it may a

ei▓r 2016 do

lso rise above the

moment▓ and say something more profound about Chin▓a, the world, or humanity which is s▓omething we also don't expect from media coverage," he sa▓id."One doesn't need to limit one's reading to contemporary writers," he said. "The more you read back into the century before and the▓ centuries before that...the more y

ou see the continui▓ties and changes of Chinese culture."CROSS▓ING CULTURAL BARRIERS

IN DIGITAL, VISUAL WORLDLaughlin has been changing his syllabus and ways of teachin

book "By th team

g his students about literature in general as it is becoming "marginalized by digital ▓culture and visual culture." His Chinese literature course is no exception."I think anoth▓er challenge we have here is that students are not necessarily readin

e River: Seven

g a lot of▓ literature anyway

Cont▓emporar

, " he said. "We have to dra

y Chinese Nove

w their attention back to the

llas," Laughli

specific richnes▓s of languag

n said tces

hey were looking for works of today's China that c

onveyed the fabric of contempo

e and text. But I also use more film and visual▓ culture in my classes."As to his students' reaction to the "By the River" novella collection, he said: "American students who don't know so much about China find it a little difficult to relat

rary experie

nce in the thriving economy."W

e to the problems and issues that characters in thes▓e stories are dealing with.""Some of them liked stories more than I expected them to. And some of them d▓isliked stories that I thought that they would like," he said. "But I think they mak

e wanted to

show the flavor of everyday li

e a great ▓component to use in teaching about modern and contemporary▓ Chinese literature.""Apart from learning ▓the thoughts, feelings, and priorities of Chinese characters or authors, I think literature hel▓ps convince us of our common humani

fe in China,

lex and folio

ty," he said. "Thi▓s is par

power."What lichnologies

  • ticularly important in a world that uses language and media increasingly to divide us and distance us from others.""People who don't read foreign literatures are more likely t▓o view people of other cultures as fundamentally different and incomprehensible. Literature reminds us that behind walls of politics an▓d ideology there continue to be ordinary pe▓ople, flirting with each other, dea

  • ling with the deaths of their parents, stealing bicycles, catching a ▓cold, competing for recognition, or worrying that they look too old when they see themselves in the mirror," he said."We can relate to these things, and the power of this ability to relate is multiplied when ▓it crosses linguistic and cultural barriers. When you can see this commonality, you are less likely to dehumanize

  • someone from another culture with stereotypes and prejudice, and this could help diminish a lot of hatred and vio▓lence," he said.In today's highly visual, digit▓al culture, the challenge is "how to get literature in front of people," Laughlin said."We are all still reading. Our relationship with ▓paper is changing...the amount of reading ha▓ppening on screens is surprisingly voluminous,

nt docg

 including my own," he said. "So it's about us hel▓ping it proliferate through soc

umentary films and

ial media, wit▓h hashtags and through opinion influencers."S▓cience fiction from China, which is highly literary, has a l▓ot of momentum in

digital culture, especially now that it is coming out in movie form such a▓s The Wandering Earth, he noted.He sa▓id Liu Cixin's ficti

con▓temporary fe

onal worlds, such as the one in the Three Body Problem, point to the past history and culture, and invite readers to e▓xplore further.Sim

ilarly, gamers may encounter The Three Kingdoms, a 14th-century historical novel considered as one of the Four Great Classical Novel

ature films as wel

s of Chinese literature, in th▓e form of a game, and it and other novels in th▓e form of fan fiction, he said."I don't know how much fan f

iction can lead readers back to g▓reat original literary works, but we can explore the po▓ssibilities," he said. "The motivation or r▓a

e the subj- form

tionale to do so is to engage with the feelings of a Chine▓se historical subjectivity, and th

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