Speaking Bitterness: History, Media and Nation in Twentieth Century China

Speaking Bitterness: History, Media and Nation in Twentieth Century China © Koninklijke Brill NV. Leiden 2004 Historiography East & West 2:1 Speaking Bitterness: History, Media and Nation in Twentieth Century China Mary Farquhar, IBAS, Griffith Business School Griffith University, Australia Chris Berry Department of Media and Communications Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK Keywords: China, nation, nationalism, media, cinema, history. Abstract: “Speaking bitterness” is the dominant narrative pattern of modern Chinese history. We argue here that it also structures historical fiction. “Speaking bitterness” transforms local stories of personal suffering into collective narra- tives of blood and tears. It is a discursive practice that may simultaneously construct Nation and Subject, blending individual stories into collective memory that claims – or counterclaims – to be “truth written in blood”. We focus on various “texts”: four film versions of the Opium War, the trial of Jiang Qing as part of the Gang of Four, and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film, City of Sadness . Speaking Bitterness 117 The films of the Opium War speak bitterness against Western imperialism in China. But there are significant differences in the four versions that relate to current Chinese politics and ideology: Eternal Flame (directed under Japa- nese occupation in China in 1943), Lin Zexu and the Opium http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Historiography East and West Brill

Speaking Bitterness: History, Media and Nation in Twentieth Century China

Historiography East and West, Volume 2 (1): 116 – Jan 1, 2004

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
1570-1867
D.O.I.
10.1163/1570186053682323
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV. Leiden 2004 Historiography East & West 2:1 Speaking Bitterness: History, Media and Nation in Twentieth Century China Mary Farquhar, IBAS, Griffith Business School Griffith University, Australia Chris Berry Department of Media and Communications Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK Keywords: China, nation, nationalism, media, cinema, history. Abstract: “Speaking bitterness” is the dominant narrative pattern of modern Chinese history. We argue here that it also structures historical fiction. “Speaking bitterness” transforms local stories of personal suffering into collective narra- tives of blood and tears. It is a discursive practice that may simultaneously construct Nation and Subject, blending individual stories into collective memory that claims – or counterclaims – to be “truth written in blood”. We focus on various “texts”: four film versions of the Opium War, the trial of Jiang Qing as part of the Gang of Four, and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film, City of Sadness . Speaking Bitterness 117 The films of the Opium War speak bitterness against Western imperialism in China. But there are significant differences in the four versions that relate to current Chinese politics and ideology: Eternal Flame (directed under Japa- nese occupation in China in 1943), Lin Zexu and the Opium

Journal

Historiography East and WestBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2004

Keywords: CHINA; CINEMA; NATIONALISM; NATION; HISTORY; MEDIA

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