Literature opens door for more East-West dialogue

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-10-12 16:11:00

Despite excitement over the first Chinese Nobel laureate for literature, questions should be asked how many other Chinese writers remain vaguely defined on the global horizon.

How about painters, musicians, dancers and so on in a long list?

Mo Yan, the 57-year-old prolific and renowned Chinese novelist, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. He is not only the first Chinese national to win the award but also the latest from a socialist country.

Mo is a farmer's child, veteran and vice chairman of the China Writers' Association. His work is considered to reveal the unique nature of Chinese rural life and relate it to universal human nature.

It is a positive sign that contemporary Chinese literature is gaining the world's recognition and Mo's win will draw more attention to the work of other Chinese writers.

China has a unique and rich cultural heritage, which has nurtured billions of people in the country's history of 5,000 years. Generations of Chinese writers, artists and common people have endeavored to pass on and enrich this tradition. Mo is one of them.

Their works, however, are largely sidelined or misinterpreted, due to the barriers of language, culture and, in particular, politics.

In recent years when people talk about China, the key word is economy. Economic growth has led to a cultural flourishing and allowed the country to spend more resources in promoting its arts. Also as its economic strength grows, the world's interest in other aspects of China has risen.

Nevertheless, the current cultural exchanges between China and the West are not very mutual. Many more Western writers and artists are known in China than Chinese to Westerners.

A Nobel Prize should present a chance to reflect on the cultural dialogue between the East and West.

Literature is a passage to the soul of a nation. The reading of more Chinese literature abroad will definitely introduce the spiritual world of Chinese to people in other countries and improve understanding.

For the sake of diversity and harmony, the world needs Chinese culture which is true to itself and open to the outside.

In some corners of the world, Mo Yan may be the first contemporary Chinese writer people come to know of. Let's hope not the last.

Open the door and the world will find many other rooms of different styles in the house named China.

Posted in: Books

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