THE POETIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHINESE POET HAIZI (1964-1989): A Case Study of Changing Aesthetic Sensibilities in Modern China

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Applying the literary tool of religious and cultural comparison into the biographical and textual events, this study blazes the trail for appreciating Haizi and his poetry from a totally different perspective than the present criticism. Dr. Li examines the biographical facts, reconstructs Haizi’s mysticism as an epistemological endeavor, reinterprets his oeuvre to position him properly in contemporary Chinese poetry and comes to the conclusion that being a Christian mystic is what makes Haizi who he is.


“Scholars and critics interested in contemporary Chinese literature and its political, cultural and religious implications to modern China will benefit from his reinterpretation of Haizi and his works…The manuscript makes a unique contribution to literary criticism in contemporary China by adding an invaluable critical device to, and a vantage point for the study of religious and cultural evaluation. To students studying the literary history of contemporary China, to scholars looking into the finer niches of the cultural and religious complexities of modern China, this reinterpretation is a must… this risky, challenging but insightful exploration into Haizi’s dark world of life and works makes Li’s reinterpretation of the biographical and textual analyses especially valuable and beneficial.”
-Dr. Lin Zhao,
Professor of Western Philosophy,
Wuhan University

“Li’s specific contribution to scholarship of literary criticism here in China is to have overset the prevalent pattern of criticism of Haizi and his poetry by offering a revolutionary perspective of religious and cultural considerations.”
-Dr. Yingliang Liu,
Associate Professor of English,
Wuhan University of Technology

“In addition to contribution to literary criticism, Dr. Li also demonstrated his critical power of synthesizing significant points in Haizi’s poetry, combining the poet’s criticism of the pernicious parts of an aging culture with the embrace of the soothing values of another, assigning importance to the collection of poems that escapes other critics.”
-Dr. Aiju Wang,
Professor of British Literature
Wuhan University

"It brings together the key points of Haizi's poems, integrating his repudiation of the deleterious parts of a decadent culture with the embrace of comforting values in another, thus excavated the highlights of a misunderstood poet."
Prof. Guangqi Rong,
Wuhan University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Lin Zhao
Chapter 1: A Narcissus Poet Chasing Himself to Tragic Death
A. Continuation of writing by dying? Leading comments
B. Mysticism and efforts of breakthrough in the 1980s
C. An anachronism about the perfections of poetics
D. To what extent is he the victim of schizophrenia?
Chapter 2: “Let the Earth Bring Forth Grass, the Herb Yielding Seed”
A. “Darkness arises from beneath the wheat fields”
B. The earthly upstart: from Zhawan to Beijing University
C. Touching upon the driftwood in the troubled murky water
D. From Hegel to Holderlin: a road of no return
Chapter 3: “Whatsoever He doeth shall Prosper”
A. A lonely heart at the Shabby Railway Station
B. Gazing on the new pasture
C. Misty poets out of the dark
D. How the Misty fire was extinguished
Chapter 4: Post Misty Poetry: The Third Generation
A. Post Misty poems and the schools
B. Qigong and mysticism as a way out
C. The Beat Generation had its play
Chapter 5: Four Sisters and a Poet in the Making
A. Do I love them more than I do myself?
B. The Myrrh from the western grassland
C. The chaotic but melancholy stage fright
Chapter 6: Pilgrimage to Mount Sumeru and Beyond
A. At the desolate Delingha
B. Silence after silence: the heart turning half silent
C. King Gesar, the living epic speaks aloud
Chapter 7: Going from Qinghai to Tibet
A. Between the sky and the water: the blue truth
B. Tibetan Buddhism and the qigong masters
C. The Taoist explanation and the Potala sister
Chapter 8: From Tibetan Buddhism to Monotheism
A. They say , never remove the carved marnyi stones
B. Mystic respiration and the Biblical allusions
C. Gripped by the sense of oneness with God
Chapter 9: The Last Days and the Archetypes
A. I will return in time to witness
B. The moon, blood, darkness and regicide
C. The day and night redefined
Chapter 10: The World of Mysticism and Biblical Messages
A. An eastern prophet in a dark kingdom
B. Bidding farewell to a rotten culture
C. The Sun: the Great Zhasa
Chapter 11: The Books of the Poetic Play and Regicide
A. The king of the sun and the ape
B. The last will and the testament of a messiah
C. Only blood shedding keeps the land fresh
Chapter 12: The Regicide in the New Babylon and the Sacrifice in Death
A. Old Oedipus, but new Babylon
B. Don’t polish your sword with my teardrops
C. I’ve come to the very end of humanity”
Chapter 13: Conclusion: “Ten Haizis Will be Brought Back to Life in Spring Time”

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