Transcendence and Transgression: Reading Wolf Totem as Environmental World Literature/Cinema?

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Abstract

“Environmental World Literature or Cinema” entails border crossing, a much debated issue in today’s ecocritical studies. This chapter examines the trans-border forces in the novel Wolf Totem and its adapted film, both being widely circulated and discussed in the world market. What is the nature of these forces? What impacts do they have both on the environment and on the characters portrayed? In what way do they play a transcending or transgressive role? Further still, what cultural, political, ethic, and aesthetic implications do these forces have in regard to environmental protection and ecological sustainability? To answer these questions, I explore the following three aspects in Wolf Totem: (1) the ethics of practices of boundary-crossing; (2) cultural-political symbolizations of nature; and (3) paradoxes of cinematic representation. By examining the ambiguous trans-border moves in this novel and its film adaptation, as well as in their production and consumption, I argue, in the transcultural flux that features Wolf Totem as a work of world ecoliterature and ecocinema (which is also symptomatic of many other eco-productions), that transcendence and transgression usually form a dialectical relationship, which constitutes the cultural-political complexity in configuring environmental world literature and cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcology and Chinese-Language Cinema: Reimagining a Field
EditorsSheldon H. LAU, Haomin GONG
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter7
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780367281083
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Contemporary China Series
PublisherRoutledge

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  • Cite this

    GONG, H. (2019). Transcendence and Transgression: Reading Wolf Totem as Environmental World Literature/Cinema? In S. H. LAU, & H. GONG (Eds.), Ecology and Chinese-Language Cinema: Reimagining a Field (Routledge Contemporary China Series). Routledge.