Yu Hua


Yu Hua
b. 1960, Hangzhou
Writer
Yu Hua, originally a dentist by profession, came to public notice as a writer of avant-garde/experimental fiction in the latter half of the 1980s. He has since established himself as a professional writer of short fiction and novels and as an authority in literary criticism and music theory. Yu Hua first came to fame in 1986 with his short stories ‘On the Road at Eighteen’ (Shibasui chumen yuanxing) and ‘One Kind of Reality’ (Shishi ru yan). These and other stories are marked by an intensity of style and content. His detached and controversial depictions of violence are coupled with his own experimental language. The combination of the fantastic and the realistic form a disconcerting picture of reality and compel the reader to see the presence of suppression, the force of instinct and the depth of social woundedness.
The publication of his novel To Live (Huozhe) marked a shift from experimental to more traditional storytelling. It was made into a movie by Zhang Yimou in 1994. After the publication of two more novels, Yu Hua devoted himself to essay writing, publishing mainly in the magazine Dushu [Reading]. Of particular influence were his literary analyses of works from various literary traditions and writers in China and the West. Yu Hua is a writer-intellectual whose penetrating style, originality of imagination, graphic art of description and intellectual pursuits paved a new way in Chinese narrative art and contributed to a renewal of Chinese literature and learning.
Jones, Andrew (1994).
The Violence of the Text: Reading Yu Hua and Shi Zhicun’. positions: east asia cultures critique 2.3:570–602.
Knight, Deirdre Sabina (2002). ‘Capitalist and Enlightenment Values in 1990s Chinese Fiction: The Case of Yu Hua’s Blood Seller’. Textual Practice 16.3 (November): 547–68.
Yu, Hua (1996). Pain and Punishments. Trans. Andrew Jones. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
——(2003). Chronicle of a Blood Merchant. Trans. Andrew Jones. New York: Pantheon.
Zhao, Yiheng (1991). ‘Yu Hua: Fiction as Subversion’. World Literature Today (Summer).
BIRGIT LINDER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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