Lu Xun: Our Contemporary

CIW Colloquium


Benjamin Penny, Ivan Franceschini, Sally Sussman, and Zhu Yayun


Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU


Thursday, 30 November, 2017 - 14:00 to 16:00

Lu Xun statue

Lu Xun may be 'China’s greatest modern writer', 'the father of modern Chinese literature', and 'an intellectual forefather of the revolution' but he is also harsh, satirical, scabrous, and excoriating. Literary canonisation creates an aura around writers that sometimes prevents us seeing what is really on the page. We read with the reputation obscuring our view. This is particularly the case with Lu Xun who has suffered immeasurably by being sanctified by the authors of China’s 'liberation'. The Lu Xun full of bile and wit himself needs to be liberated from the praise of banal nationalists, respectful critics, and the institutions of literature.
In conjunction with Professor Gloria Davies’s public lecture 'Hearing Voices with Lu Xun', the colloquium 'Lu Xun: Our Contemporary' looks again at Lu Xun, not as a revered icon of 'modern Chinese literature' but as model for contemporary social criticism, for satire, and for a kind of iconoclastic tone and method that might light a way in our own depressing times.
Ivan Franceschini, Australian Centre on China in the World—'Rediscovering Lu Xun in Italy: Political Readings of The True Story of Ah Q and the Old Stories Retold'
Zhu Yayun, Australian Centre on China in the World—'Growing up with Lu Xun'
Sally Sussman, Australian Performance Exchange—'Ah Q and the Performance of the Hapless Refugee'

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