Edited By Irina Deretić and Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
Mirjana Pavlović, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade - The “Literature of Humanity”: The Case of Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman
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Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade
The “Literature of Humanity”: The Case of Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman1
During the cultural renaissance of the May Fourth movement, which set the direction for the subsequent development of modern Chinese literature,2 the well-known Chinese writer and critic Zhou Zuoren (1885–1967) launched and elaborated his idea of “literature of humanity (ren de wenxue).”3 By the literature of humanity, Zhou Zuoren meant those literary works that affirm a humane way of living and reject all those things that “hinder the growth of human nature and destroy the peace and harmony of mankind”. (Denton 1996, 157)4 The author believed that man, as an evolved animal and thus not different from other living beings, is endowed with beautiful and good vital faculties. Therefore, all unnatural customs and institutions, which are contrary to human nature, should ← 257 | 258 → be condemned and amended. The literature advocated by Zhou Zuoren is thus a humanist one. On the other hand, the origin of his humanism is an individual who must be completely liberated and self-realized. In this respect, “literature of humanity” is the literature of the self-aware individual who is able to recognize his individuality within a larger context—the whole of mankind, and as such contributes to the improvement of human life in general.
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