Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nobel Prize for Literature

All of China is excited about Mo Yan being awarded the the Nobel Prize for literature. His books are flying off the shell. In fact, there is a copyright war going on now while various publishers are clamoring to make money from this good news. I find it interesting that all the mucky-mucks are so proud of this honor for China when in fact he wrote about the down-an-out area of his hometown that officialdom forgot.

One of my students is also from Mo Yan's hometown and this is what he had to say in his journal entry on the subject:

    "When I heard that Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature I felt a little disappointed.  I am not joking.  Mo Yan and I lived in the same town called Gaomi.  Many of my classmates who also came from Gaomi excitedly declared, "Mo Yan is my fellow villager!"  Well, it never came to their mind that Mo Yan has already made full use of our hometown.  He has wringed every legend, myth, folklore and story out of this land.  If someone else wants to become a novelist, what else can he write?
     "Honestly speaking, Mo Yan is a really clever writer,  When he began to write, he had great trouble finding out the material.  He tried to compose a novel about his life in the army, with which he was not familiar.  He dared to do that because he believed in his imagination.  Of course, Mo Yan failed.  Puzzled and disappointed, he began to suspect himself.  Then he came across William Faulkner's Sound and Fury, and the Muses began to come to him from then on  It dawned upon Mo Yan that one could become a great writer by drawing upon the stories from his hometown, even though it was 'as small a a stamp'.
    "After reading some of his works, I have to admit that Mo is really an excellent writer.  He has the qualification to be 'king of literature; in Gaomi.  Mo Yan is a man of keen observation.  He saw frogs, he heard the rain, he smelled the air.  I saw, I heard and I smelled them, too, but I never cared or admired the beauty in them.
    "However, I don't feel inferior to him because I believe in Emerson's teachings. 'There is a God in every soul' and 'Trust yourself.'  But still, I show great respect to Mo Yan and there is a great deal I can learn from him."

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