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Exploration of the Origin of Lin Yutang’s Humor

Author: MaXiangDong
Tutor: WeiJiuYao
School: Yan'an University
Course: Literature and Art
Keywords: Lin Yutang Comedy Humorous Traditional culture Psychology
CLC: I206.6
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 60
Quote: 0
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Lin Yutang, a world-famous scholar, writer and theoretician, played a crucial role in China’s writer. He was one of the well-known writers deserving attentive appreciation in the history of China’s contemporary literature. Profound exploration and innovation are worthwhile to the history of literature theories, whenever a publication being founded or a fiction being originated or an essay being composed. He grew up in a mixed culture of West and China, both languages well-grasped. The two kernels of the comedy theories were well-comprehended and pushed forward. It was he that firstly translated the word humor in English to“Youmo”in Chinese. He was the urger of China’s humor literature, the pioneer of modern humor and the master of humor. He was also the bridge connecting Western and China comedy theories, who was first one to introduce the art of humor. In constructing and developing of China’s humor theory, Lin Yutang played an great role.Due to political environment, his humor theory proposed all through his life was not identified and accepted, and was rejected by most literature and history textbooks in the period of cultural revolution in 1960s-70s. His works were even weighed by social classes just before 1990s and he was treated as a model of reactionist. However, research on Lin Yutang and his works was sparked when his works published and translated in mainland China after 1990s. Critics and researchers began to focalise the historical value of his being an literateur and proser. In addition to his works, his attitude toward life as well as the humor in his works ---- the key proposition reflecting the author’s view of literature and culture, was focalised on and investigated.Humor is a major category within Lin Yutang’s literature thought. Humor view takes a great postion in the system of Lin Yutang’s literature theories. But the origin of his humor thoughts was uncertain. Some believe that his humor was rooted in the comedy arts of Chinese tradition for his reception of traditional Confucianism and Daoism in his childhood, going from Yuan Hongdao to Su Dongpo to Tao Yuanming and reaching Zhuangzi. Some assume that his literature innovation and humor theory came completely from western comedy system, being influenced by Meredith,Heliesite, Bullough, Croce, Bergson and Freud. The thesis exposes that Lin Yutang’s humor was rooted in the Confucianism and Daoism of traditional Chinese cultures and blossomed on the basis of western comedy theories through an investigation into the development of the theories of western and Chinese comedy. Its root decides the humor view of his works while its theory makes the discourse of his works. At last, the conclusion reached reveals that Lin Yutang’s humor theory is a comedy theory that combines the Chinese traditional culture with the discourse of modern Western aesthetics.

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