Regionalism Across the World in the Nineteenth Century
A Dialogic Reverberation between Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native (1878) and Shen Congwen’s Long River (1938-45).
Yuejie Liu (University of Southampton)
Thomas Hardy, Shen Congwen, comparative literature, Nature
Evidence shows that an influence study between Thomas Hardy and Shen Congwen is not as fruitful as a parallel study. With this in mind, this paper adopts Qi Shouhua’s revision of Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of ‘dialogic reverberations’ to explore the shared dialectic between Nature and culture, shown through the use of both naïve and poetic languages, common to both Hardy and Shen’s regional novels. The mediations between these two kinds of languages in the narratives and characterisations in Hardy’s The Return of the Native (1878) and Shen’s Long River (1938-45) dissolves the dichotomy between Nature and culture and connects modernity with a re-enchanted Nature. Through close comparison, this paper argues that the dialogic reverberations between these two writers reveal more about their novels than an analysis that reads the literature of each author in isolation.
Yuejie Liu is currently a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Southampton. She receives a scholarship from China Scholarship Council for her comparative literature project ‘Nature and Humanity: A Comparative Study between the Regional Novels of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) and Shen Congwen (1902-1988)'.