Dec 14, 2012 04:08 PM

A New Normal for Chinese Literature?


Mo Yan is the product of one of the most tumultuous periods of Chinese literature but could also represent one of China's greatest modern triumphs.

The decision to award the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Chinese novelist was officially hailed in China as the fulfillment of a century-long dream.  Although this is not the first Nobel for an author writing in Chinese – the novelist and playwright Gao Xingjian won the literature prize in 2000 and the (jailed) literary critic Liu Xiaobo won the peace prize in 2010 – it is the first awarded to one who has retained his PRC citizenship and stayed in official good graces.  It marks the end of a long century for Chinese writers, one in which the Nobel Prize has functioned as something of a holy grail - for individual authors, broader literary and intellectual circles, and even, at times, the nation as a whole.

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