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The Ironic Self: The Intertextual Narrator in Wang Xiaobo’s Fiction

Shen, Xiaoqi (2019) The Ironic Self: The Intertextual Narrator in Wang Xiaobo’s Fiction. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Wang Xiaobo, a writer whose many works earned renown only after his death, was invoked in multiple cultural debates. Some critics argue that Wang’s popularity among the urban middle class since the 1990s comes from the fact that his way of thinking and the complexity of narrative satisfy the tastes of urban elites; while others suggest that his eccentricity – in both life and works – is attractive to readers in a newly individualistic generation. This paper tries to examine Wang’s searching for the independence of spirit by analyzing his narrative strategy. Wang’s intertextual narrator Wang Er, generally considered as the author’s alter ego, is granted much authority that allows him to intrude and comment on the stories. As the narrator intrudes the metafictional structure of narrative and plays with the change in his identity, a two-way identification with the narrator and the author is indicated: just like the narrator, in mimicking the writing action of the author, molds his own version of history, the author portrays the narrator as an ideal self that transcends history in a poetic world. In the same way the narrator fails to modify the grand history into his own, the author implies his failure in escaping to the “poetic world.” I argue that irony is presented in both the grand narrative of historical totality which tries to erase the individual subject that seeks independence, and the individual tale in which individuality cannot be canceled in the logic of history.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shen, Xiaoqixis62@pitt.eduxis62
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQian,
Committee MemberDoshi,
Committee MemberGao,
Date: 19 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 April 2019
Approval Date: 19 June 2019
Submission Date: 12 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 69
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wang Xiaobo, Irony, Intertextuality, Narrator
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 18:43
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 18:43


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