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Eat to remember. Gastronomical reconfigurations of hunger and imprisonment in contemporary Chinese literature

  • Serena De Marchi

During the famine that befell China following the disaster of the Great Leap Forward, hunger was a major affliction for the individuals undergoing reform in the labor camps. Food – in terms of procurement, consumption, or just discursive recollection – was a central issue in the prisoners’ lives and, as a consequence, descriptions of meals and eating practices are a recurring presence in modern Chinese literary texts that revolve around carceral experiences. This contribution investigates three literary works that reconstruct personal experiences of imprisonment by way of eating: Wang Ruowang’s Hunger Trilogy (1980), Zhang Xianliang’s Mimosa (1984), and Yang Xianhui’s Chronicles of Jiabiangou (2003). In these texts, food becomes a privileged perspective through which look at how personal and collective memories are re-appropriated and re-elaborated, as well as to analyze how narratives of the past are consumed and produced.

  • Keywords:
  • Food,
  • memory,
  • prison,
  • laogai,
  • prison writing,
  • hunger,
  • contemporary Chinese literature,
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Serena De Marchi

Stockholm University, Sweden - ORCID: 0000-0002-1355-9597

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  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
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Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Eat to remember. Gastronomical reconfigurations of hunger and imprisonment in contemporary Chinese literature

Authors

Serena De Marchi

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6.12

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Food issues 食事

Book Subtitle

Interdisciplinary Studies on Food in Modern and Contemporary East Asia

Editors

Miriam Castorina, Diego Cucinelli

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

202

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6

ISBN Print

978-88-5518-505-9

eISBN (pdf)

978-88-5518-506-6

eISBN (epub)

978-88-5518-507-3

Series Title

Studi e saggi

Series ISSN

2704-6478

Series E-ISSN

2704-5919

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