Shizhi and Wen Jie : Two Chinese Poets

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Recently, proponents of the Critical Medical Humanities have recommended more genre-specific approaches to the analyses of illness narratives, looking at cultural specificities of idioms of distress rather than exclusively at transhistorical or transcultural approaches. This genre-specific critique grounds my reading of the work of Chinese poets Guo Lusheng (*1948) and Wen Jie (*1963), diagnosed with schizophrenia and clinical depression, respectively. The study uncovers a lyrical voice that takes shape in the poets’ illness-related contents, but also in the formal aspects of the Chinese poetic tradition. I argue that the therapeutic delight of writing poetry lies less in expressing subjective experiences than in finding poetic forms that integrate individual experiences into a collective form of illness poetics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJahrbuch Literatur und Medizin
EditorsFlorian STEGER
PublisherUniversitats Verlag, C. Winter
ISBN (Print)9783825378394
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This essay is a small and modified excerpt from Birgit Bunzel Linder: Metaphors unto themselves – mental illness poetics and narratives in recent Chinese poetry. In: Howard Y. F. Choy (ed.): Discourses of disease: writing illness, the mind and the body in modern China. Leiden 2016, pp. 90– 121.


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