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Approaching the Feminist Daily Life Poetics

Author: LuXingRen
Tutor: ZhangYuNeng
School: Central China Normal University
Course: Literature and Art
Keywords: daily life non-daily life feminist criticism female literature literal history feminist daily life poetics system
CLC: I206.6
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 1402
Quote: 5
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After furious attacks on and cleaning of male-centered concepts involved in texts and culture, as well as sorting and revaluation of works by female writers in contemporary age in 1990s,feminist criticism in China stepped into the post-excitement period, which could no longer reach its crest and go to the same depth, or bring about the same shock as it used to do. It was hard for text criticism itself to arouse a popular interest in criticism; however, the critics failed to find another way in discourse to compensate for the monotonousness and weakness as a result of the criticism from the single perspective of females; therefore, they had to conceal and replace the weakness of local feminist theoretical research with their tracing and study of the latest academic achievements in western world. To break away from such an embarrassing situation, a new research aspect or a new topic has to be found out, to reexamine and activate the development of feminist criticism theory in China. Daily life is one of this new research aspects or one of this new growing points of theories.Daily life, which has long being undervalued and excluded in the filed of philosophy and aesthetics, was first opened up by Marx into his realistic study, and then with the efforts made by theorists such as Lukacs, Husserl, Heidegger, Lefebvre, Heller, Debord, Baudrillard and Featherstone, the meaning and value of daily life was realized by more and more people, and with the development of their study, daily life gradually became the front line and academic center of the age other than their former role as background and foundation. It is necessary not only for the development of philosophy and aesthetics, but also for the development of the economy, society and history of human society to respect, acknowledge and highlight the value of daily life. Therefore, it is an important task for the literal researchers to throw away the intention to neglect and reject daily life in their study, to reestablish the perspective of daily life in literature study, and based on this, to reexamine our literature, culture and theoretical criticism.Reinvestigating the western feminist criticism and modern female literature in China from the prospective of daily life, we found the theoretical and literal objectives that return to daily life, acknowledge daily life, and overthrow the restriction and influence on female by male-centralized culture. The first generation of feminists in the western world set out from changing the actual situation of females, and discussed the daily life based on the visual threshold of dualism of didacticism that regarded rationality and despised sensibility; as a result of which, they attached importance to non-daily life and made little account of daily life, and hence advocated that women should walked out of daily life, and entered the field of non-daily life to realize their independence in economy and equality of men and women. The second generation of feminists began to realize that daily life counted a great deal in the liberation of women in material world and spiritual world, and especially the latter; they looked into all aspects of daily life, such as sex, reproduction, role as mother, housekeeping affairs and daily mentality, etc., to reveal the oppression of patriarchy on females, so as to arouse the consciousness of women and improve the environment for women in their daily life. While for the third generation of feminists, daily life has become the object arousing their direct concern. They not only interpreted the value and meaning of body, dressing, family life and shopping for the building of female as a principal part, but also criticized the male-centered consumption culture for its influence on the building of female body and consumption. With the discovery and revaluation of body discourse based on experience in daily life, they found the meaning of daily life to females and the infinite possibility hereof in striking the male-centered culture. While the description of daily life in female literature in modern and contemporary times in China was developed based on whether accepted or rejected the restriction and influence of the male-centered national discourse. After a colorful description of natural instincts of women and their daily life for a short period of time around May 4th Movement; the female literature in modern and contemporary times starting from the end of 1920s until the New Age was subject to the restriction of the male-centered national discourse, concealed the natural instincts of women, avoided or mentioned lightly daily life, so as to accord with the demand of the turbulent age and get accepted by the mainstream of the literature; however, at the cost of losing the consciousness of female as a principal part. While Xiao Hong, Zhang Ailing, Su Qing, et al., standing at the edge or gap of national discourse, wrote about the fatuous and repeated local daily life, or common customs in urban daily life, or human relations and desires in daily life of females; though they were not accepted by the mainstream of culture, they embodied the power to resist patriarchy system. Since the New Age, female literature has taken the lead of tide in all aspects of daily life in literature for its probing into the reasonable position in daily life, presenting the daily life of common people in their nature way in modern and contemporary times, highlighting the experimental daily life in body and spirit of individuals, and advocating the daily life in the aesthetics and materials-oriented consumption society, and in this way, shown its rebellion to the male-centered mainstream culture that advocating no description of daily life, and triggered people’s thinking about the role and meaning of daily life in female literature and feminist criticism.Judging from literal history, literal creation or literal criticism, daily life plays an important role in feminist criticism. In view of literal history, women had long been restricted in the territory of daily life, so that their composition had to be based on daily life; even though nowadays when women have gotten away from the territory of daily life appointed by men, women, by virtue of their special sensitiveness and precise memory on aspects such as details in life, emotions and bearings, intuition and imagination, they still maintain a big concern and good performance in daily life; to some extent, daily life has penetrated the history of female literature creation, and covered most part of female culture composition, which, however, has become a cause for the male-centered cultural history values to undervalue and deny the value of female literature; therefore, to search for and establish the history of female literature, we have to start from acknowledging the meaning and value of daily life, to unearth and revaluate the concealed works of female authors. In view of literal creation, to establish their authority in discourse in literal creation, it is required that on one hand, female writers should compose with "double-discourse" in male-centered literal order, and on the other hand, should set out from the daily life embodied with the instinct life experience of women and penetrated with their memory and imagination, and summarized the common nature of human beings through their personal experience of humanity in life; therefore, daily life plays the same important role in the establishing the authority of female discourse. In view of literal criticism, daily life criticism theories concerning the value of daily life, internal structure and action pattern of daily life, and alienation, rebuilding and promotion of daily life, as well as the practice of feminist criticism, can also help to break through the single-gender perspective in literal explanation, to get more profound and powerful space in literal explanation.To sum up, the feminist criticism in China starts from the perspective of daily life, to sort and examine the history and tradition of female literature and culture, sum up the source of thoughts, aesthetic judgment characteristics and explanation modes for female description of daily life, and evaluate the latest local literal and cultural phenomenon, which not only help the feminist criticism in China to come closer to the practical life of common people, but also help us to establish theoretical discourse based on local female experience, and take it as the platform and medium for the communication and dialogue with feminist criticism in western world. Therefore, in the 21st century, it is the requirement raised by the age for us to establish a feminist daily life poetics system based on the self-conscious awareness of daily life.

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CLC: > Literature > Chinese Literature > Literature Review and Research > Modern literature ( from 1919 to 1949 )
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