Alienation and the motif of the unlived life in Liu Heng's fiction

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Critics have long argued that alienation is the essence of modern culture. Having long served as a theme in literature that profoundly reflects the changes and challenges of modernity, alienation has, after a hiatus of a few decades, undergone a conceptual resurgence during the 1990’s as recent research in the West indicates a correlation with the phenomenon of postmodernity. With the breakdown of communism in vast parts of the world and the development toward pluralistic societies, the field of human possibilities has expanded considerably and the response thereof demands, therefore, a new definition of alienation. If previously alienation signified the lack or loss of individual freedom, it now is an expression of an “overdose” of it, at least in many Western countries. Even in countries with a more established democracy, the unmanageable environmental and societal complexities of the culture of postmodernity inescapably translate into a new kind of alienation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-148
Number of pages30
Journal現代中文文學學報 = Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


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