Flies' Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwa's Perverse Nostalgia

Flies' Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwa's Perverse Nostalgia Flies’ Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwa’s Perverse Nostalgia Carlos Rojas Like the trompe l’oeil itself, the fly is obsessed with minutiae, Christian or Confucian. The fly moves between the cracks of houses and bones, waiting upon feasts and misfortune; it generates — it was long thought — spontaneously, coming from nowhere to live briefly on what we leave behind. It is the afterimage of the flesh. — Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy In the preface to Old Xi’an (Lao Xi’an), a recent volume of old photographs for which the novelist Jia Pingwa contributed a textual commentary, Jia recounts how he once observed some foreigners trying to converse in Chinese with the receptionist at a Xi’an hotel. The foreigners were apparently having considerable difficulty understanding the receptionist’s Xi’an dialect and asked her why she didn’t simply use standard Mandarin. She replied that, during the Han and Tang dynasties, the Xi’an dialect was the standard in China. At this point, Jia Pingwa continues in an apparent non sequitur; positions 14:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2006-020 Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press positions 14:3 Winter 2006 a fly suddenly flew over and landed on a tourist’s hat. The tourist asked the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Flies' Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwa's Perverse Nostalgia

positions asia critique, Volume 14 (3) – Dec 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1067-9847
DOI
10.1215/10679847-2006-020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Flies’ Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwa’s Perverse Nostalgia Carlos Rojas Like the trompe l’oeil itself, the fly is obsessed with minutiae, Christian or Confucian. The fly moves between the cracks of houses and bones, waiting upon feasts and misfortune; it generates — it was long thought — spontaneously, coming from nowhere to live briefly on what we leave behind. It is the afterimage of the flesh. — Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy In the preface to Old Xi’an (Lao Xi’an), a recent volume of old photographs for which the novelist Jia Pingwa contributed a textual commentary, Jia recounts how he once observed some foreigners trying to converse in Chinese with the receptionist at a Xi’an hotel. The foreigners were apparently having considerable difficulty understanding the receptionist’s Xi’an dialect and asked her why she didn’t simply use standard Mandarin. She replied that, during the Han and Tang dynasties, the Xi’an dialect was the standard in China. At this point, Jia Pingwa continues in an apparent non sequitur; positions 14:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2006-020 Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press positions 14:3 Winter 2006 a fly suddenly flew over and landed on a tourist’s hat. The tourist asked the

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2006

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