Literature, History, and Narrative: A New Historicist Reading of Yan Geling’s “Celestial Bath”

Rong Guo

Abstract


"The relationship between history and literature has long been a key element in literary studies: Marxism, old historicism, and new historicism all relate text to context, and comparative literature as a discipline has stressed literary history and textual analysis. Since the 1960s, there has been an increased emphasis on the role of his- tory in the study of literature and culture. Beginning in the 1980s, new historicism has made significant contributions to comparative and world literature, history, and culture. This article discusses Yan Geling’s short story “Celestial Bath” by combining text and context and taking a historical approach to textual analysis; the discussion takes Aristotle into account, and also follows Fredric Jameson’s advice to read history through the text and narratives. I have chosen Yan Geling as the subject of this study because she is an overseas Chinese writer who, by definition, lives in a comparative or double context."

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