Mar 26–Apr 25, 2006
Stories and Remembered History
The series presents ten authors - including Nobel Prize Winner Gao Xingjian - of contemporary Chinese literature.
Until recently, it was difficult to find Chinese literature in the German book market. In part, this was because it had been forced to comply with dogmatic political demands and restrictions from the time of Mao right up to the events at Tiananmen Square. Yet even then, there were oppositional literary groups in the People’s Republic, and with them passionate discussions about the function of literature and literary freedom. There was the question as to whether literature ought to be an expression of individual freedom or whether it should reflect the new society in a way that satisfied official political maxims. A number of outstanding works arose in this context that were subsequently often banned or defamed. They frequently dealt with questions that nobody was allowed to raise on the tightly controlled public media. Furthermore, these works introduced elements of modernity into Chinese literature from the perspective of the narrator and through the development of women’s literature, for instance. Many of these novelists contributed as exiles to China's cultural memory. Nowadays, the political aspect of the diaspora has lost much of its former importance, and the boundaries of literature are no longer as hard and fast as they used to be. Even so, Chinese literature still tends to be roughly classified by places of origin: China, Taiwan, the Southeast Asian region and exile - particularly the USA. The "China - Between Past and Future" literary programme invites Chinese authors from various regions to present, at the House of World Cultures, their contribution to the thematic, stylistic and biographical diversity of contemporary Chinese literature.