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The Making of Chinese Poetry of the Nineties

On 18 May 2022 Lan-Yi Yang successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.

L.Y. Yang
18 May 2022
Leiden Repository

The late 1990s saw the emergence on the Chinese poetry scene of a phenomenon called “Poetry of the Nineties” (九十年代诗歌). This happened before the decade in question had reached its end. Different from what one might expect, the expression does not denote a simple calendar chronology – as in poetry written in the 1990s – but instead points to a literary-critical category, and more specifically to a particular poetics and a network of associated authors and critics. This discrepancy of calendar chronology and literary criticism offers a point of entry into a pivotal moment in critical discourse on contemporary Chinese poetry. Pivotal as it may be, this moment has remained underresearched to date, especially as regards its history, which goes back to the 1980s, and as regards its consequences, which continue to affect scholarship today. The present study addresses this blind spot by asking: What does “Poetry of the Nineties” signify, to whom, and to what effect? It engages with this question by investigating how poetry written in the 1990s is represented in 21st-century Chinese scholarship, and how this representation can be explained.

Supervisors: prof. dr. M. van Crevel and prof. dr. G.R. van den Berg

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