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By Jacob Edmond

Why is our global nonetheless understood via binary oppositions-East and West, neighborhood and worldwide, universal and strange-that should have crumbled with the Berlin Wall? What may possibly literary responses to the occasions that ushered in our period of globalization let us know in regards to the rhetorical and ancient underpinnings of those dichotomies? In a standard Strangeness, Jacob Edmond exemplifies a brand new, multilingual and multilateral method of literary and cultural reviews. He starts with the doorway of China into multinational capitalism and the looks of the Parisian flaneur within the writings of a chinese language poet exiled in Auckland, New Zealand. relocating between poetic examples in Russian, chinese language, and English, he then lines a chain of encounters formed via fiscal and geopolitical occasions from the Cultural Revolution, perestroika, and the June four bloodbath to the cave in of the Soviet Union, September eleven, and the invasion of Iraq. In those encounters, Edmond tracks a shared trouble with strangeness in which poets contested previous binary oppositions as they reemerged in new, post-Cold conflict types.

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His protests against the Chinese government at that time made returning to China seem ill-advised, and so he spent the subsequent three years based mainly in Auckland. 57 The writing he produced over this period develops the disenchantment and decentering impulses of menglong and xungen poetics into a confrontation with exile. 58 Yang’s exilic writing negotiates the temporal and physical disjunction of exile through the figure of the walker in the city. It shifts the many literary references to walking and to the figure of the solitary traveler, exile, and stranger in traditional and modern Chinese poetry and fiction (including xungen literature) from their largely rural landscapes to an explicitly urban and foreign environment, presenting a far more alienated subject than in the few earlier Chinese modernist representations of the flâneur.

88 In prose pieces such as “Weishenme yiding shi sanwen” 为什么一 定是散文 (“Why There Has to Be Prose”), Yang addresses one of the nemeses with which the flâneur does battle—perpetual recurrence beneath the illusion of novelty: 同样的姿势、脚步,走进这一天,又走出这一天。岁月,压抑在字里行间,是 不是总共只有一天?一天中就发生了五年(道路的日子)、五千年(陶罐上 粗陋符号的日子)?言辞,狂暴地展示着一个被无数街道、城市和国度折 磨的经历,高达彻底的沉寂。 Walk into this day with the same stride and posture as you walk out of it. All in all, isn’t time, shut up in lines of words, just one day? Don’t five years (days on the road) or five thousand years (days in the crude symbols on an earthenware jar) all take place in just one day?

103 The two times, like the two meanings of guo, overlay and erase each other, threatening to leave the exile in a situation characterized by stasis, spatial entrapment, and semantic erasure—doomed endlessly to pass from point to point along a dotted line that marks the absence of meaning. Through the wordplay on guo, the exile’s experience is also overlaid with a reflection on what Benjamin describes as the transformation of the structure of experience in modernity. ”104 The exile’s sensitivity to his repetitive temporal and spatial movements and to the decrepit, ignored, development-ravaged graveyard marks not only his alienation but also the general alienation of all those people and things (the graveyard, the volcano, the wino, and the tumbledown old house) in Yang’s Auckland that do not conform to narratives of progress.

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