Spiritual Experience: A New Source of 20th Century Literature

  Let us freely and freely engage in a discussion of the division and division of writing between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  Twentieth-century literature did not begin on January 1, 1901. When we talk about 20th-century literature, we don’t think of 1901 as the opening work of the 20th century — the pioneer work, just because it produced something. The new and old and the beginning and end of literature do not take the beginning and end of time as milestones, but the appearance of landmark works as the beginning and end.
  Work is greater than time, and time is subject to work, which is people’s respect for literature and art. Now, when people say that Kafka was the greatest writer of the 20th century, and that he brought about the earth-shaking changes in the literature of the 20th century, people gradually wake up and gradually discover, not after the arrival of the 20th century, people Found as you flip through the pages of your calendar. Not even in 1912, when Kafka wrote “The Judgment” and “The Metamorphoses” and other works that were completely different from the 19th century, people discovered him. It is well known that Kafka only published a few collections of short stories during his lifetime, and most of his works were organized and published after his death by his friend Max Broad (also translated as Broad) against his will. of. After that, from the very beginning of these works, the research documents generated by these works, one by one, one book, one by one, from few to many, until they are so vast that it is impossible to count. Among the writers of the 20th century, Kafka only wrote novels of more than one million words, excluding his diaries and letters, which are as beautiful as prose and ideological essays, and the research monographs produced around these novels are enough to Pile up mountains like Prague Castle and help Kafka build a literary studies museum or the Louvre that is more than a royal palace.
  The writer always respects and respects this complicated research and discovery of the critic. And when it comes to writer-to-writer, things are simple, sloppy, and direct. If he (she) likes him, he will tell the reader directly that he likes him or he likes him very much, and only when he or she doesn’t like him, he speaks cautiously and softly, for fear of being overheard. Camus, Beckett, Borges, Márquez, Nabokov, Günter Grass, Abe Kobo, etc., they have always shouted out their love for Kafka directly, using the most Admired words, write him and his works into his own words and works. Or simply, write almost according to his style, just like the Japanese writer Abe Kobo. From this point of view, when we say the sincere love of the great writers behind Kafka, it is not difficult for us to understand the influence of Kafka on world literature. It is not difficult to understand that the research monograph formed around him is tantamount to a printing factory. However, what I want to say here is precisely not the influence of Kafka on world literature, but the inimitable and irreproducible nature of Kafka’s influence on the world.
  Specifically, as far as literature is concerned, what is most difficult to influence is its ideology, and what is most vulnerable is its technicality. What to write is ultimately a problem faced by human beings—writers, readers, and critics, but how to write is more of a problem that writers must face independently. Around 2010, I went to the Paris Literary Festival in France. There was a section in the Literary Festival. Every foreign writer who came to France had to go to a place alone – without being influenced by anyone, he blurted out as much as possible, saying Name two of your favorite authors or works. Because I finished this part early and had nothing to do, I came out and stood at the door with the translator, eavesdropping on the answers of other writers on this question. The writers came in and out, asked and answered questions, including writers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Spain and Argentina. The answers I heard from more than ten writers made me feel surprisingly similar: Almost all of them answered that they liked Kafka, and more than half of them answered that their favorite work was “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. The answers are neat and uniform, just like the uniform and correct standard answers in the Chinese exams.
  This made me feel the dull monotony of literature at that moment. After that, I kept thinking about the following questions:
  1. Why does no one answer that I like the writers and works of the 19th century? Such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Hugo or Gogol in the 18th century, or Dante, Cervantes and Shakespeare earlier. I believe that everyone must have seen or are even more familiar with these later writers and works that have entered the traditional classic ranks due to time, but why has no one named their names and works?
  2. Why do they all answer Kafka in unison when talking about writers in the 20th century, and most of them answer “One Hundred Years of Solitude” when talking about works?
  3. What is Kafka’s literary legacy to the writer-non-reader? In other words, what influences and changes did Kafka bring to 20th century literature, and it became a teacher of writers or a textbook written by writers?
  You think about these questions day by day, year after year. Later, you slowly understood from another angle a problem that should have been understood long ago but has been delayed for a long time. In 1996, the French Goncourt Prize for Fiction was almost awarded to the 27-year-old female writer Marie Dali Ercek’s novel “The Sow Girl”. Judging from the news in the newspaper, the reason why “The Sow Girl” was shortlisted for the Goncourt Award is because it inherited the creative method of “The Metamorphoses”. The novel is about a shop selling cosmetics. Because of the entry of a beautiful girl, the business is booming and the customers are flooded. But this beautiful female clerk was constantly sexually harassed because of her beauty, and in order to maintain a beautiful and sexy figure, she kept eating hazel, so she began to change her body shape, her eyes became smaller, her nose became bigger, Hair loss, chest abnormalities, etc. In the end, she finally became a little suckling pig, abandoned by her boss, abandoned by her boyfriend, and kicked away after being used by politicians. When there was no way to go, she went to the park to live a real animal-like life, eating grass and chewing flowers, surviving in the wilderness, and returning to the original. For various reasons, she was chased by the police again. In the process of being hunted down, she met a rich man who turned into a wolf, and lived a peaceful and loving life, and then the rich wolf died unfortunately… At the end of the novel, the sow girl returned to her mother’s captive pig. The pen is with pigs, but the mother wants to sell it as a real pig. When she was about to be sold, she couldn’t bear it anymore, shot and killed the person who bought the pig, and pointed the gun at her mother…
  This is a very popular novel in France and even in Europe and America, and has been translated into dozens of languages. There’s nothing wrong with a writer writing this way, it’s her specific way of knowing the world, life, and the individual. Even if it is an award with great influence in the world, there is no problem in awarding it to such a novel. It has its own rationality and literary reason for awarding this novel. But in 1998, because “The Sow Girl” was translated and published in China, I deliberately asked this novel to read it carefully. I felt that the novel was very good, but there was always an irreparable regret that it was too similar to “The Metamorphosis”. And no matter how you explain it, you cannot escape the direct influence and shroud of “The Metamorphosis”. Then, I thought of the novels of the Japanese writer Abe Kobo again – I read the “Box Man” and “Sand Girl”, which is called “Japanese Kafka” or “Oriental Kafka”, and the second time I have to say that Abe Kobo is a unique and great writer in Japan, but I have to leave a faint helpless sigh for his great writing-because you suddenly find that when the traditional “mutants” Novels, after the “Metamorphosis” in the early 20th century, all similar writings in the world will hardly have transcended significance.

In the 20th century, after Kafka and his Metamorphoses, there was – and will continue to be, an endless stream of similar and equally good (not superior) works and their existence in world literature. Literary grief. Because of this, I understand why, around 2010, the dozen or so international writers I heard at the Paris Literary Festival all answered in unison that their favorite writer was Kafka, and most of them answered why their favorite work was “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. ——Because, since the beginning of the 21st century until now, people’s writing is still in the 20th century’s inertia of modernity and innovation. People have not yet understood what the literature of the 21st century is; Just like when it was unknown back then, it is hiding behind which country and which language it is, waiting for people to discover and dig. But now, people haven’t discovered it, haven’t encountered it, haven’t waited for his arrival. Therefore, almost all the literatures of all countries in the world have to follow the inertia of 20th century literature to write, and have to answer in unison that his favorite writer is Kafka. In the fact of writing, as far as the inheritance and creation of literature is concerned, what is really easy and can be used for reference, learning and imitation is mostly in the way, method and technique of writing, and what is really difficult to inherit is the writer’s emotion , soul and mind. How can we imitate Tolstoy’s great fraternity thought with strong religious overtones in the 19th century? How to study? The stories composed of hundreds of characters in “War and Peace” are not because the latecomers do not have the ability to construct and weave in this way, but the depth and universality of the writer’s natural understanding of human nature, which is difficult for us to learn and inherit. It is difficult to learn from and surpass; Dostoevsky’s writing from the heart to the soul of people’s brush and ink may be able to drip on our manuscript paper, but his innate love for suffering With hugs, who can really learn it? In this sense, Kafka’s writing at the beginning of the 20th century was precisely the unconscious inheritance of the human soul’s inherent misery, such as Gregor, K, and The Hunger Artist. The artist, the “prisoner” in “Exile”, etc., the characters in his most important works all carry the suffering of the soul, bear the emptiness and fate without a way out, and completely deviate from the writing method. The causality of 19th-century realist stories created zero causality in his method (zero causality mainly refers to the “causeless effect” of literary relationships and plot logic, as in Gregor’s One Night Beetle-like in between. – original note). Therefore, he is also at the right time. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the whole world literature is invariably eager to get rid of the oppression and restraint of the mountains and rivers of the literature of the 19th century, he wrote at the right time, appeared at the right time, and at the right time. It is accepted and used for reference in time and place, so in the literature of the 20th century, Kafka has the meaning of a new beacon of literature in the 20th century. It is precisely because of this that all the great writers with original meaning in the literature of the 20th century will regard him as the light of creation on the long road in the future, and the beacon of writing and sailing in the confused ocean. So, latecomers such as writers after the 1940s, Camus, Beckett, Nabokov, Márquez, Borges, Gunter Glass, Llosa, and later American writers Ross, the South African writer Coetzee, the Indian writers Naipaul and Rushdie, as well as countless 20th century painters and artists, all have the shadow of Kafka in their works. In this way, it is not difficult to understand the significance of Kafka’s beacon in 20th century literature. It is not difficult to understand that at the beginning of the 21st century, at the literary festival in Paris, almost all writers answered in unison that the writer they most admired was Kafka. Even those “realist” writers in today’s China who are completely realistic and write with positive energy like the emperor’s seal, open their mouths and keep their mouths shut, but they also talk about Kafka, like Kafka is a relative of all writers, As he is the legal guarantee of all literature, legal, right, and noble. At the literary festival, almost all writers answered in unison that the writer they most admired was Kafka. Even those “realist” writers in today’s China who are completely realistic and write with positive energy like the emperor’s seal, open their mouths and keep their mouths shut, but they also talk about Kafka, like Kafka is a relative of all writers, As he is the legal guarantee of all literature, legal, right, and noble. At the literary festival, almost all writers answered in unison that the writer they most admired was Kafka. Even those “realist” writers in today’s China who are completely realistic and write with positive energy like the emperor’s seal, open their mouths and keep their mouths shut, but they also talk about Kafka, like Kafka is a relative of all writers, As he is the legal guarantee of all literature, legal, right, and noble.
  The inability to learn from the soul, thought, and spirit in literature has been well demonstrated in the writings of the 19th century. In the 19th century, the writing methods of each writer were very different, but in general, they could still fall into the category of realism, critical realism, or romantic realism. What really makes them different is that A is A, B is B, and C is definitely not A or B. It is the spirit of their literature, their different understanding and experience of people and the world, and their understanding of human nature. The fundamental difference and difference in literature and writing, and the difference in story and narrative method caused by it in reverse. The so-called difference in the style of writers, more fundamentally, is that each writer has a different understanding of people and the world, which determines the great difference in their writing style and expression methods. Gogol’s exaggeration and humor are deeply loved by Dostoevsky, but there is almost no shadow of Gogol in Dostoy’s writing. Tolstoy had devoted himself to learning and imitating the “major themes” of Tolstoy and Turgenev, but the result was a failed attempt. Balzac and Hugo are giants of the same generation and the same region, one is simply and clearly called “Critical Realism”, the other is simply and clearly called “Romantic Realism”, as if the difference between them is Methods and styles based on realism, that is, A is realistic and B is romantic. In other words, it was their different writing methods that formed the difference between Team A and Team B. That seems to be the case, and it certainly isn’t. What really makes them different, I think, is that a writer maintains a mediocre and realistic attitude toward people and reality, that one is one, two is two, and one will never become two. On the other hand, in the understanding of reality and people, there is a religious and ideal attitude, believing that forgiveness and love can light up and save the darkness of people’s souls. As long as people have the spirit of love and forgiveness, one will be greater than one, greater than two, equal to three, equal to four, and equal to infinity. Therefore, their literary stances, one is a realistic painting, the other is an ideal “romantic”, a broader and passionate love and forgiveness, rather than an understanding and criticism of the mundane and desires.
  Therefore, in general and superficial terms, in the 19th century, writers were divided into superior and inferior, and it was they who understood the left and right, high and low, and deep and shallow of the world and human nature from the perspective of literature. In the 20th century, the writers were divided into left and right, superior and inferior, which extended to the writers’ understanding of literature and the understanding of literature itself. As for the writer’s understanding of people and the world, the perspective, analysis, judgment and positioning that are mainly formed depend on the writer’s own experience and experience, such as birth, family and the environment in which they live, with a kind of naturalness and fatality. , which is mostly related to the fate of the writer himself. Reading and reference are secondary and auxiliary, and have the meaning of enlightenment and boost. Generally speaking, in the understanding of people and the world, it is the fate of the writer’s personal and personal connection that plays a decisive role. Just as we cannot imagine that Tolstoy was born in a poor family and could write such works; nor can we imagine that Dostoyevsky was not born in a poor family and had no experience of exile, and could write “Death” House Notes, Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov. In the 19th century, every great masterpiece was more closely related to the writer’s family and personal destiny. In the writing of the 20th century, every work with unique personality and more literary groundbreaking significance was more closely related to his reading. The masterpieces at this time are not separated from the relationship between the writer’s family, family and the writer’s personal destiny, but further deepen his more urgent connection with the works and text creation of others.