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On the Technology of the Sublime in Modern Chinese Narratives

Tue October 27th 2020, 10:00am
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CSN, English
On the Technology of the Sublime in Modern Chinese Narratives

We are delighted to have at the Working Group on the Novel Maciej Kurzynski, PhD candidate in the East Asian Languages and Cultures and recipient of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship, presenting “On the Technology of the Sublime in Modern Chinese Narratives”. 


Robert Clewis, Professor of Philosophy at Gwynedd Mercy University and recent editor of The Sublime Reader (2018) with Bloomsbury, will be his respondent. We are very grateful for his participation in our workshop, especially since he is in Italy at the moment. 


The workshop will take place on October 27th, at 10AM, to accomodate the different time zones. 

Here is the registration link. 


You can find the paper enclosed in this email and an abstract below. 


Title: On the Technology of the Sublime in Modern Chinese Narratives

Abstract: In my paper, I use the tools of digital humanities to explore the aesthetic of the sublime in modern Chinese narratives. I argue that, due to its ability to provoke strong bodily responses, the sublime is often appropriated by processes of sense-making and value judgements in order to address the human mind affectively. The aim of my paper is thus to shed light on what I call the “technology of the sublime,” which is a narrative strategy that organizes topological leaps between the sublime and other topics in the narrative space. Using topic modeling in tandem with network analysis, I read two modern Chinese novels: The Second Sun by Liu Baiyu (1987) and Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian (1990) and reveal how their authors avail themselves of the sublime in order to make performative statements about the world. I also show the ways in which the authors can negotiate with the sublime meta-narratively so as to contain and redirect its powerful emotive thrust.