October 23rd presentation: “Iconoclasm in Self-Expression: Narratives of Love and Guilt”

The Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop is pleased to present:

Iconoclasm in Self-Expression: Narratives of Love and Guilt

(the third chapter from her dissertation, “Forbidden Enlightenment: Self-Articulation and Self-Accusation in the Works of Yu Dafu (1896-1945).”)

Valerie Levan

Ph.D.  Candidate

 Department of Comparative Literature

with a response by Scott Mehl (Ph.D student, Department of Comparative Literature)

October 23(Friday) 3:00-5:00 PM 

Room: Judd 313

A summery of  the second section of the paper (pages 20-35):

Section II. Modern Spirits. Modern Flesh?

This section begins with a brief discussion of the “conflict of spirit and flesh” ( ling rou chongtu) as it appeared in the critiques of Yu Dafu’s contemporaries.  First I explore the “conflict of spirit and flesh” as a foreign import that differs from traditional notions of passion/ritual, order (qing/li, li).   The paragraphs that follow are a brief “East-West” comparative discussion of the association of guilt with sex and romance.  I then use these two discussions – of the “conflict of spirit and flesh” and the association of guilt with sex and romance – as the basis for my theory of the modern Chinese male progressive’s romantic predicament circa 1920-1930.  I use Zhang Jingsheng’s (aka Dr. Sex) sexological studies and the famous Ms. Chen debate to illustrate this situation of an educated male public eager for information on modern romance and forced to function in a world of ill-defined romantic moral standards.  


If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive workshop updates, please contact jiyoung22@uchicago.edu

Faculty sponsors: Michael Bourdaghs, Paola Iovene

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Ji Young Kim (jiyoung22@uchicago.edu) or Ling Zhang (ling1@uchicago.edu)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *