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Chinese Literature to Bring Fresh Air to World: Russian Expert

Updated: 2012-12-10 10:38

Chinese writer Mo Yan's winning of the Nobel Prize will attract more readers in Russia to Chinese literature and bring "fresh air" to the world, a Russian expert says.

Mo Yan is a brilliant author whose works should be translated into Russian more often, Boris Yevseev, a member of the Russian Union of Writers, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"I know his works have been translated into European languages, not into Russian. I read several of his works. He is excellent," Yevseev said.

Mo was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a writer who "with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary."

Born into a farmer's family in a village in Gaomi, Mo has been known since the late 1980s for such novels as "Big Breasts and Wide Hips," and "Red Sorghum," which was later adapted into a movie by director Zhang Yimou.

All forms of literature are based on the use of language and Mo wiped out the "bookish words" that had been dominating various kinds of literature for centuries, Yevseev said.

"I believe we (writers) should use the language of common folks. Mo Yan has successfully used such language," Yevseev said.

Against the background of the predominance of English literature in the world, Yevseev said Mo's winning of the top award could open a new window for global readers to the almost marginalized eastern literature.

There's no doubt that William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and many other Westerners were great writers who penned masterpieces, but "some very important sides of our life" has not been covered by Western literature due to rarely or poorly translated works from the East, Yevseev said.

Yevseev spoke highly of the role translation plays in bridging the gap between different cultures, adding that more of Mo's works should be brought to Russian readers by good translators.

As great countries with glorious cultural traditions, Russia and China need to further understand each other's culture and literature, Yevseev said.

Chinese authors and literature are not well-known in Russia and one major reason is that publishers are unwilling to take commercial risks, Yevseev said.

"They are not familiar with Chinese literature," he said. "They have no idea what the literature of Ming and Tang Dynasty is. They don't know who Lu Xun is."

Until now, only excerpts of Mo's works have been translated into Russian. The Russian Union of Writers is trying to approach the publisher of Mo's books and buy the rights for publication in Russia.

Following the "Nobel Prize effect," Russian readers' interests in Chinese literature will definitely increase. "But the question is how it will be backed up later by our elite and the society that is more Western oriented," Yevseev said.

Chinese literature could make similar contributions as to what Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian novelist who won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Latin American literature has brought to the world, Yevseev said.

"It has brought a new and fresh look. It has shifted the genre and also changed the function of the Chinese literature could also bring fresh breath from the East, a feeling of changes in the genres," Yevseev said.

Editor: Shi Liwei

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