Universiteit Leiden

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Life on a Strip

Joanna Krenz defended her thesis on 15 May 2018.

Joanna Krenz
15 May 2018
Leiden Repository

Focusing on emigration discourse in Chinese contemporary literature, the present study proposes reflection on mechanisms that connect literary writing with what is usually perceived as extra-textual reality, that is the sphere of individual and collective lived experience. Through the prism of the evolution of (our approach to) literary genres, with a special focus on the essay and related phenomena in both Chinese and Western literary traditions, I try to observe “paradigm slippages” in literature, i.e. moments when a certain way of understanding and describing literature and its interactions with “the world” proves insufficient, and a new way to do so emerges. Instead of adopting a literary-historical perspective marked by breakthroughs in collective consciousness, like those between the ancient, the modern, and the postmodern, I concentrate on shifts that run through single literary works and are more effectively captured in the language of natural sciences. I argue that at different levels and in different circumstances, texts may be understandable and describable within different physics of literature: from genre-based “Newtonian” physics, to universalizing “Einsteinian” physics whose conceptual structures are reflected in the essay, to “quantum” physics whose microdynamic I observe when scrutinizing processes of essayization.

Supervisors: prof.dr. M. van Crevel and prof. dr. I. Łabędzka.

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