Can Xue

(née Deng Xiaohua)
b. 1953, Changsha, Hunan
Writer
Can Xue is one of the first avant-garde writers to have emerged in the 1980s, and is the only female author attributed to this group. She began writing in 1981 and is best known for her two novellas, Old Floating Cloud (Canglao di fuyun) and Yellow Mud Street (Huangni jie), as well as many short stories. Her writing emphasizes the hallucinations of largely female protagonists who have turned the violence of a socially ordered world into mental and fictitious images. Her work constructs and deconstructs language, evoking a surreal and strangely disordered world that has no grounding in real-life experience or history. Her characters thus speak in abstract dialogue, provide non-sensical or irrelevant answers, and ultimately fail to communicate. Her work has been compared to that of Franz Kafka because many of her protagonists suffer from paranoia. She has written commentaries on the work of Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges. She is also an outspoken critic of the male-dominated literary world that has narrowly defined what the literary content of a woman’s text can be. Can Xue is an honorary member of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa.
Can, Xue (1989). Dialogues in Paradise. Trans. R.Janssen and J.Zhang. Evanston: North-western University Press.
——(1991). Old Floating Cloud: Two Novellas. Trans. R.Janssen and J.Zhang. Evanston: North-western University Press.
——(1997). The Embroidered Shoes. Trans. R.Janssen and J.Zhang. New York: Henry Holt.
——(1998). ‘Hut on a Mountain’. Trans. J.Zhang and R.Janssen. In Wang Jing (ed.), China’s Avant-Garde Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press.
Lu, Tonglin (1993). ‘Can Xue: What is So Paranoid in Her Writing?’ In idem, Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth Century Chinese Literature and Society. Albany: SUNY Press.
Posborg, Susanne (1993). ‘Can Xue: Tracing Madness’. In Wendy Larson and Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg (eds), Inside Out: Modernism and Postmodernism in Chinese Literary Culture. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press.
Solomon, Jon (1988). ‘Taking Tiger Mountain: Can Xue’s Resistance and Cultural Critique’. Modern Chinese Literature 4:235–62.
Wedell-Wedellsborg, Anne (1994). ‘Ambiguous Subjectivity: Reading Gan Xue’. Modern Chinese Literature 8:7–20.
MEGAN M.FERRY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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