Chinese Literature Podcast

Not About to See Your Light

Rob Moore and Lee Moore dive into Han Shaogang's Pa Pa Pa

In this episode, Rob Moore and Lee Moore return to the "Root Seeking" authors with Han Shaogong's enigmatic short story about a young child in the countryside who can only say two things: "Papa" and "F#$* Mama." Every time he utters one of his two phrases, the villagers try to divine what he means and what it means for the fate of the village. Does this boy serve as a good leader for the village? Does he destroy the village? The story questions whether or not language means anything, whether we can say stories even mean anything:

Chinese Literature Podcast

Heart on a Shelf

Rob Moore and Lee Moore discuss Dong Xi's Record of Regret with Dylan Levi King

Now available in English translation from Dylan Levi King, Dong Xi's Record of Regret (first published by People's Literature Press in 2005) exists at the intersection of sex and ideology. Telling the story of Ceng Guangxian, the grandchild of a landlord whose property was confiscated by the communists in 1949, the book memorably begins with deux chiens fourrent. Rob and Lee quiz Dylan on Dong Xi's literary inspirations ("a mix of socialist realism and Madame Bovary"), his darkly funny, Kafkaesque takes on social alienation, and reception of his writing in China:

Chinese Literature Podcast

One Hundred Days, One Hundred Nights

Rob Moore and Lee Moore get up close and personal with Liang Qichao

"If one intends to renovate the people of a nation, one must first renovate its fiction." With these words, would-be reformer Liang Qichao (1873 - 1929) launched his influential literary magazine, New Fiction, in 1902. Living in exile in Japan following the disastrous failure of the Hundred Day's Reform, Liang Qichao belonged to the last generation scholars to pass through the examination system in the final decades of Qing-dynasty. Largely overshadowed by later May Fourth-era figures like Lu Xun and Hu Shi, Rob and Lee discuss why Liang Qichao's work has come back into the limelight:

Chinese Literature Podcast

The One on the Left is on the Right

Rob Moore and Lee Moore on Zhuangzi and the happiness of fish

They’re one of the best-known duos in Chinese literary history (after than Rob and Lee, of course): Zhuang Zi and his less-than-intelligent foil, Huizi. In this classic parable on how we know (or, ‘Hao’ we know...) what others really feel, nothing is what it seems to be. Check your preconceptions at the door, and get ready to question everything:

Chinese Literature Podcast

Children of the Revolution

Rob Moore and Lee Moore on the enduring legacy of Hua Tong's Yan'an Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are the reason Mao and the People’s Liberation Army won the civil war in 1949, and the generations that followed pretty much rocked. Or so says Hua Tong’s Cultural Revolution-era short story 'Yan’an Seeds.' It’s Communist propaganda, so why bother? As Lee argues, it’s some of the best dang propaganda you’ll ever read, providing an invaluable lens on how Mao and the CCP used art and literature to shape the way people thought: