Literary critic Wu Yiqin once pointed out that today’s literary critics often disguise themselves as public critics, ignoring or concealing their true literary feelings as a reader. He pointed out an important problem in current literary criticism: the retreat of “I” as the subject of literary criticism.
Since the 1990s, the rise of “academic criticism” and the emphasis on “intellectual job awareness” have enabled literary criticism to enter the academy and into the system of academic production, so that it can be fully academicized and standardized. In order to highlight the objectivity and academic nature of literary criticism, critics have generally tried to downplay the “I” as the subject of criticism, making the criticism look dignified, stable, rigorous and objective, but eliminating the critic’s temperament and style, and weakening the passion and passion of criticism. Edge. Academic critical articles are full of various theories and annotations, but the style is the same. It reads like a stubborn pedantic talk, and it seems that it is not about literature and art.
A large number of critics regard literary works as objects of academic research, instead of treating them as works of art. What they do is standardized academic production, not art appreciation. While avoiding the subjective feelings of critics, this kind of critical articles rarely express literary expression, which weakens the aesthetic attributes of the article, and makes the critical article lose its appeal and its due charm. There are a large number of voices dissatisfied with literary criticism, which is not unrelated to this.
Literary criticism should not abandon individual aesthetic feelings
The current literary criticism is dominated by rational, speculative, and argumentative writing. Faced with this situation, people began to miss the frank expression full of personality and full of vigorous vitality. Regarding literary criticism full of individual aesthetic feelings, Western theorists and critics have provided important references. Since modern times in the West, under the influence of individual liberation thoughts, critics have advocated that criticism should be separated from the subordinate status of creation. From Diderot to Schlegel, to Saint Péve and Wilde, they have insisted on criticizing the independence, creativity and artistry relative to creation.
In “The Critics as Artists”, Wilde believes that critics are also artists. Criticism is independent of creation. The purpose of criticism is not to reveal the writer’s intentions. Creation is material for criticism, just like The visual world and the emotional world are the same creative materials. Criticism creates on the basis of works. Criticism itself is a kind of art. He emphasized that literary criticism should be creative and individual, and the essence of the highest level of criticism is “a record of a person’s personal soul.” Paustovsky is a practitioner of Wilde’s literary criticism. He has written a series of prose about the writer’s memories and life anecdotes, and compiled “Portrait of Literature”. The text about Wilde is the first of them. It shows the status of Wilde in his heart.
About Pawstowski, people are more familiar with his “Golden Rose” published in 1955, in which he summarized the author’s own creative experience, studied the creative activities of many well-known authors, and explored the creative process. A series of questions in the book, this is a reading about creative experience, and it is also a collection of literary criticism.
In this book, he refuses to use concepts to frame and summarize his cognition of literature. Instead, he uses vivid and subtle metaphors to describe and express the phenomena and laws of art. He compares conception to lightning, and inspiration to first love. The writer’s spurt of creative creativity is likened to an avalanche, and the intoxicating love poem is likened to witchcraft. He uses vivid and charming words to express his reading experience and aesthetic feelings, and to describe his true emotional waves and life experience in the process of encountering literature.
He commented on Prish’s prose: “Prish’s vocabulary shines brightly like a blooming flower. Sometimes they drizzle like a herb, sometimes gurgling like a spring, and sometimes like a bird. Chirp and chirp, sometimes clinking like the first ice cubes, and in the end, they are like stars in the starry sky, arranged in a leisurely row, slowly imprinting into our minds.”
He described how he felt when reading Alexander Green’s works: “Suddenly, I felt an indescribable depression, longing for the scorching wind and the light salty taste of the sea, longing for Liss, longing for its hot curls. , The woman’s fire-like eyes, the yellow rough rocks with white shells left behind, and the rosy clouds flying swiftly into the azure blue space.”
His commentary text is fresh and vivid, full of personal life experience. He vividly described the comfort and shock that literature brought to his soul, showing his innocence and sincerity as a critic. He used the story of the veteran Jean Xiamy sifting gold from the dust of the jewelry workshop to make golden roses, as a metaphor for the writer’s process of accumulating artistic feelings from the bits of life; he used as home Murtatu to expose the Dutch government and businessmen’s enslavement of the Javanese people His deeds illustrate the writer’s mission to promote justice.
“Golden Rose” is full of bright and splendid language, brilliant description, and touching plot, which makes people forget that it is literary criticism, and think it is beautiful essay or novel. He used literary language and form to talk about literature, breaking the boundaries between literary criticism and literary works, and turning literary criticism into art.
“Analysis of Poetry by Poetry” is a great tradition of Chinese classical literary criticism
In fact, Chinese literary criticism has a longer tradition of American literature. Under the exquisite critical poems, the author’s abundant vitality and unique artistic sensibility flow.
Lu Ji’s “Wen Fu” uses Fu to discuss poems, uses exquisite language and ingenious metaphors to summarize the general laws of literary creation, and expresses sophisticated literary creations in an ingenious style. Sikongtu’s “Twenty-Four Poems” uses twenty-four four-character poems to summarize twenty-four types of poetry styles and artistic conceptions. Its sophisticated classification and subtle expression make readers amazed by the author’s talent. In Du Fu’s “Playing as Six Quatrains”, it dismissed the characters in the form of seven-character quatrains, praised and criticized the poems, answered a series of major theoretical questions in the development of Tang poetry, and brought the neatness, simplicity and delicacy of the literary criticism language to a new height. Li Bai’s “Ancient Style · Daya Is Not Composing for a Long Time”, Dai Fugu’s “Ten Poems on Poems”, and Yuan Haowen’s “Thirty Poems on Poems” are extensions of this context. “It has become a great tradition of Chinese classical literary criticism.
In modern times, Li Jianwu has inherited this tradition. His unrestrained and unrestrained aesthetic criticism style, in addition to social utilitarian purposes, pays attention to expressing personal reading impressions and perceptions, and his remarkable subject consciousness makes his critical writing unique artistic charm. He narrates freely in an easy-going and equal discourse attitude. He is overwhelmed with branches. He often uses topics to express himself, as if chatting with old friends, freely and calmly.
For example, when commenting on “Border Town”, he used large paragraphs to talk about his understanding of literary criticism, the meaning of his understanding of the author for literary criticism, and the difference between novelists and artists, etc., which seem to have little to do with the theme of the article. It may seem idle, but these contents are actually expounding his own critical concepts before evaluating the works, and letting readers understand the critics before analyzing and interpreting the works.
In his critical practice, works are only the origin of his artistic feelings. What he really wants to show to readers is “the adventure of the soul between masterpieces”. He does not emphasize logical analysis, but emphasizes intuition and perception. He uses symbols and metaphors to trigger and express impressions. He is keen and witty. He uses his own life experience to perceive works and collide with unique aesthetic experience.
For example, he commented on Ye Zi’s novels: “Ye Zi’s novels are always like a scorched young tree, without the sentiment of “Life and Death”, without the vivid language of “One Thousand Eight Hundred Dans”, and without any rich gestures. , But standing upright in the wild, exposing the ridged backbone, that gives people the feeling of being strong, the young tree in the late spring that was unfortunately shocked by the electric shock. What it symbolizes is that there is nothing here, only suffering, and the upside of suffering. Will.”
His critical articles have an individualized aesthetic perception that is scarce in this era. Because of their true and sincere expression, they are full of appeal and persuasiveness. His articles inspire readers’ insights and guide readers’ reading. Just like Beatrice’s guidance of Dante, he leads readers to roam the literary world, only tells impressions, and does not jump to conclusions, and guides readers to read that belongs to the individual. I feel that his literary criticism is unique in modern Chinese literary circles, and it is still a unique existence today. Reading such an article is like reading a beautiful prose. While gaining theoretical inspiration, it can also make people enjoy artistic enjoyment.
Literary Criticism Should Use Broad View and Comparison to Amend Individual Cognitive Narrowness
Of course, this impressionistic literary criticism, which is full of individual aesthetic perception, also has its own problems. The literary critic Nan Fan once questioned him in his article “What’s Wrong with Academic Criticism”: “The’academic’ really doesn’t like eloquent impressionist criticism. Two-two shochu, a little talent, three money imagination Adding a little melancholic expression or a playful accent, the literary criticism concocted by this formula is nothing but improvisational theories that flourish. In such a prosperous era of scientism, unproven knowledge is not worthy of adequate respect. “What Nan Fan wants to explain is that, in contrast to the theoretical awareness and sense of history of academic criticism, the individual experience on which impressionism relies is not reliable, and it is difficult to make rational judgments about works.
In fact, such concerns have long existed. Liu Xie listed the problems encountered by literary critics in the process of criticism in the chapter of “Wen Xin Diao Long”, including “the precious distant and inferior, the old and the inferior to the present; ; Believe in the false and the truth, can not learn the literary; know more and prefer, no one can be round.” That is, the influence of critics’ subjective likes and dislikes and cognitive limitations on the effectiveness of criticism. Critical articles must highlight the individual critics’ literary feelings, and at the same time be wary of the limitations of personal cognition that affect the effectiveness and fairness of criticism. This seems to be a difficult problem. But when Liu Xie raised the problem, he also gave a solution to the problem. He pointed out that people who are engaged in literary criticism need to “practice a thousand songs and then hear their voices, and watch a thousand swords and then understand them”. That is to say, literary criticism should correct the narrowness of individual cognition with broad view and comparison. Liu Xie’s demands on critics are still valid today. Fair literary criticism should be based on a wide range of comparisons. Critical conclusions lacking comparison are difficult to convince.
Li Jianwu’s literary criticism has a clear sense of comparison. He pointed out in “Juhua Collection”: “The so-called soul adventurer is that he is not only experiencing, but also integrating all his observations and experiences to identify the secret relationship between a work and the author. He should not use it all. He explained it himself, because he is not the most reliable scale; the most reliable scale is comparing all previous masterpieces of mankind and using the author to explain his production.” In his view, it relies solely on the critics’ own impressions and feelings. Literary criticism is unreliable. Only by extensive and sufficient comparison with previous masterpieces can works be accurately positioned.
In specific literary criticism, he practiced his own cognition. For example, when discussing Shen Congwen’s works, he compared Fei Ming and Shen Congwen, and pointed out that Fei Ming’s creation is intended to create a detached artistic conception, while Shen Congwen expresses his worship of beauty by expressing a specific life. He also compared Shen Congwen and Stendhal with George Sang, taking inventory of Shen Congwen’s creation that is not fond of discussion and analysis, and focuses on the poetic and lyrical characteristics.
Those outstanding works in history are his yardstick for evaluating his works. He sifted through the rivers of literary classics of the past dynasties a model comparable with the critics, and confirmed his judgment through extensive and in-depth comparisons. He used the impression of Chinese classics. The combination of criticism and modern positivism has created a very personal style of American literary criticism. It has left a strong mark in the history of modern Chinese literary criticism, and it has been reminiscent and memorable to this day.
(The author is an associate professor at the School of Literature, Shenyang Normal University, and director of the Liaoning Literature Research Center)