The spread and acceptance of the North Island in the German-speaking world

In 1980, Suhrkamp of Germany published a two-volume translation of the collection of Chinese Modern Short Stories. Since the 1970s, the Surkamp Press in Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) has formed a “Suhrkamp Kultur” (led by intellectuals and literary elites). The target readership is the mainstream knowledge community in Germany. a This collection is the first Chinese modern literature translation series published by Surkamp Publishing House. The volume of the book “The Hope of Spring: 1919-1949” edited by the sinologist Volker Kl?psch is Lu Xun’s The opening of the Madman’s Diary, the second volume edited by Wolfgang Kubin, “Hundred Flowers Blossoms: 1949-1979” ends with Shi Mo’s “The Returned Stranger”. In Gu Bin’s preface, Shi Mo’s “Beijing Underground Writer” wrote “the order that is both existing, unthinkable, and not allowed to be questioned” in Chinese society. In this society, “only follow Talents in order are qualified to have their hometown.” b

Here, Gu Bin’s brief introduction to Shimo is in fact an image that he seems to have nothing to do with the protagonist Lan Lan and the “stranger” father returned after the Cultural Revolution—the imaginary friend who follows the rules of the game. Interpretation of the scene of the victory at the finish line. Gu Bin, who prefaced this collection in 1979, probably did not expect that many years later, when he became a famous German sinologist, he moved to Beijing, the hometown of Shimo, and his translated Beidao poetry has spread all over his own. The hometown of language: Shi Mo is the pseudonym used by Beidao in the late 1979, in the second issue of “Today”, to publish the short story “The Returned Stranger”. In the same year that the Chinese language circle was published, the novel was received by the University of Vienna female scholar Barbara Spielmann. After being translated into German, it was introduced to Gu Bin who is compiling the Surkamp collection. d In this way, the North Island debuted in the German knowledge and culture community, representing the group of Chinese modern writers who were intellectuals from the May Fourth Enlightenment; and at the end of the collection, he appeared as a young novelist, Shi Mo, who had no rebellious spirit. It also declared the end of an era.

First, sober “time survivors”

For some German readers who pay attention to Chinese modern literature in the 1980s, if Shimo declares the end of the last Chinese literature era, then the North Island answers the call of the next era. In 1985, the important literary magazine “Die Horen”, which was founded after the war in West Germany, cooperated with the Berlin Horizons Literature Festival to launch the first issue of the Chinese modern literature “The Cow Ghosts” e, by the Jewish historian Helmut Braun and the Sinologist Jin Ru. The composition of the poem (Ruth Keen) covers modern Chinese literature from the May Fourth Movement to the 1980s, most of which were translated into German for the first time. The sinologist Helmut Martin wrote a holistic narrative that paralleled the Chinese literature of the 1980s and the 1920s because the literary creations of both eras reflected the spirit of Chinese intellectuals who experienced social change. face. Similar to the 1920s, one of the characteristics of literature in the 1980s was the “alienation” or “defamiliarization” (Entfremdung) arising from the rupture of change. The representative figure was written “For the world / I will always be a stranger. “The North Island of the poetry poet, “I am always a stranger to myself/I will always be a stranger.” f In Ma Hanmao’s view, a new generation of writers after the Cultural Revolution, such as his example of Beidao and Gucheng, were able to “take strength from protests” and became “the spiritual leaders of their generation”. Compared with Gu Cheng, the North Island is a more rebellious and more outstanding social intellectual writer in Ma Hanmao’s discourse: he wrote an underground publication in Beidao to protest official cultural policy; write North Island in his The short story “On the Ruins” attempts to reconnect the Chinese tradition that broke during the Cultural Revolution: “A feeling that is no longer customary, is based on the ancient Chinese history, here (the words of the North Island) re-find the entrance”; North Island’s novel plot and poetry language inherited the writing of “Despair” by young writers such as Yu Dafu in the 1920s. Finally, he specifically pointed out that the “defamiliarization” of the North Island is not the Marxist “alienation” theory published by Zhou Yang and Wang Ruoshui in order to maintain the political ideology system in 1983, but a concept with “deep goals”: “It (North Island) The ‘defamiliarization’ refers to the living conditions of individuals in China’s modern intellectuals and their responsibilities and obligations as social individuals to social change.”h

It is not difficult to see that Ma Hanmao’s assessment of the North Island by the eyes of literary historians is based on a reference system of modern intellectuals. The spirit of protest in the underground publications edited by North Island fits with the “social criticality” of Western European intellectuals, and the self-consciousness of the restoration of national traditions he read in Shimo’s novels is also a sign of post-war literature in Germany. Therefore, although Ma Hanmao’s historical narrative itself is objective and calm, the Chinese writer he introduced to German readers seems to be an image carved out from the mold of German ideal intellectuals during the Cold War, so that his introduction itself is full of emotions. This image should be familiar and distinct to German readers with the same frame of reference, especially when they juxtapose North Island’s writings on the Cultural Revolution and the reflections of the new German writers of the 1950s. In the postscript written five years later for the German version of the North Island novel “Die Gezeiten” (1990), Ma Hanmao clearly explained the comparability of the North Island and German post-war writers. This time, he started from the “language” of the North Island:

The Chinese language of the North Island reveals a “new sobriety”, and his cool description can make people feel the shock of electric shock. … The clear language of the North Island reminds us of the generation of German writers after World War II, such as Boltchet, and the early Heinrich Burr, or other members of the Siqi Society. Indeed, after experiencing a similar national disaster and the beginning of a new era, they found a similar language form to construct text with a similar sense of loss. In view of this, it may not be entirely coincidental that the first article of the North Island literary magazine “Today” contains Burr’s 1952 article “Talking about Ruin Literature”. Such as “revolutionary humanism” or “the construction of great socialism” as the official language to promote the “reality” of the People’s Republic of China – as it appeared in the new narrative literature of the early 1970s in the Democratic Republic of Germany – in the North Island The novel will only appear in the form of irony. After the public discourse in China was destroyed by the propaganda machine of the Mao Zedong era, the language of the North Island tried to announce a new beginning. i

After many years, Ma Hanmao’s review of the language of the North Island Cultural Revolution is not just a rhetoric review – although the use of the word “lucid” to accurately describe the North Island’s text is based on a critics’ deep understanding of the text. Perception. The “electric shock” and “new sobriety” that he felt from the language of the North Island stemmed from the author’s conscious awareness of the dark age of chaos. Here, Ma Hanmao is keenly aware that the literary youth of the North Island “survived” from the dark Cultural Revolution era, facing a “ruin” era of language disorder, collapse of faith, social anomie, and abandonment. Like the “Ruin Literature” writers who sought to find new literary expressions in the words destroyed by the Nazi regime after the war in Germany, the North Island spontaneously observed life with a clear eye and explored new language art with a clear tone. In this way, Burr’s “Ruin Literature” declaration and Shi Mo’s “On the Ruins” appeared at the same time in 1978, “Today”, the inaugural issue of “not exactly coincidence.” In the face of ugliness and destruction, facing the huge ruins left by them in history, they are not willing to anesthetize themselves, “cover their eyes”, but choose “wake” witnesses and records because they “recognize that a good pair of eyes is The writer’s tool.” j

Just because of the “clear” language form that he once met, Ma Hanmao attached the literary language department of the North Island to the writer’s personal political resume and social participation. Nevertheless, such comments cannot be divided by simple “political acceptance” and “aesthetic acceptance.” In fact, including the three “North Island Readings” proposed by Ouyang Jianghe – “political reading”, “the pedigree reading” and “rhetoric reading” – can not be true here, because Ma Hanmao’s North Island reading is indeed It is a combination of the social and political nature of the writer, the historical lineage of creation, and the rhetoric of language. For the German scholar of the “68th generation” who advocated the sociality of literature, the literary language chosen by the writer is inseparable from his social pursuit as an intellectual. l The “clear” language of the North Island is the literary expression he chose when he faced the reality of life, which is exactly the same as the German author’s literary choice in the similar era. Therefore, the political dissent and social responsibility of reading intellectuals from the North Island script is not entirely “political acceptance” or “political reading”, but is based on the understanding of language rhetoric and the understanding of the history of political thought. Interpretation of the new historicist text prevailing in the decade.

Of course, the interpretation of New Historicism itself has the suspicion of reducing “literature” to “history.” But overall, Ma Hanmao’s evaluation of the works of the North Island and its positioning in the history of literature is accurate. In terms of the literary history significance of “Wave”, Ma Hanmao’s assessment from the North Island language is similar to that of some contemporary Chinese literature scholars. For example, when Chen Sihe wrote “Wave” into the literary “awakening” of the Cultural Revolution period, he also proposed that the artistic exploration in the language of Beidao (Zhao Zhenkai) is the simultaneous expression of the author’s “spiritual awakening”. Of course, Ma Hanmao’s appreciation of the “awake” of the North Island language and his appreciation of the spiritual “awakening” reflected in the author’s own political dissent experience are inseparable from causality. When he wrote about the North Island startup “Today”, he repeatedly mentioned the details of the members who risked their lives with the “photocopy of the seesaw” and used such things as “spreading the first edition of the journal in December 1978 in heavy snowfall.” A romantic description of every corner of the city. n Critics’ personal feelings and his appreciation of the writer’s social significance are evident in such narratives.

As the most important Sinologist in the study of Chinese twentieth century literature in the 1980s and 1990s, Ma Hanmao’s high evaluation of the North Island laid the foundation for the acceptance and recognition of the North Island as a new generation of Chinese intellectual writers. After the North Island was exiled overseas, the politicality of this acceptance was significantly aggravated, although the discussion of poetics did not faintly retreat. Just as Ma Hanmao retells the literary concept expressed by the North Island in the Oslo re-issue of “Today”: “Literature, poetry, itself is resistance.” o The “revolt” in the aesthetic sense of poetry in the 1989 “Time Series” magazine because of political events The political poems of the dissident poets in the opening poems for the special issue of modern Chinese literature are unified: “I can only choose the sky / never lie on the ground / to show the heights of the executioners. wind”. p (“Deklaration”) In the acceptance of German sinologists and intellectual readers, the “resistance” of the North Island or Shimo is rooted in his creation and his identity. Just as Gu Bin summed up the poet in a large German literary journal, Akzente, in 1998, the starting point of the creation of the North Island was a rebellion. He rebelled against “Chinese intellectuals as courts.” The traditional role of the poet” q. In Gu Bin’s view, until the mid-1990s, the North Island, which had been wandering for years, still insisted on the poetic concept of “poetry and rebellion closely connected”. The only difference from the previous one is that “the rebels at this time finally realized their weakness and weakness.” The North Island, which moved to a foreign land, is no longer a rebellious young stone with a cold stroke, but a poetry poet who has won Paul Zelan’s “painful consciousness” because of his true loss of his hometown. Over time, the language of the North Island still retains the “awake” of the writer’s responsibility, and perhaps it has Ma Hanmao’s evaluation of the North Island’s promotion in the 1990s – this “survival” from the last dark age The poet had already made a prophetic “awake” warning to himself and the world before he entered the next era:

You are not survivors / you never have a home. (“Daydream”)

Second, the “classification” of intellectual poets

After the death of Ma Hanmao in 1999, people found the referral text written in 1996 for the nomination of the North Island candidate Nobel Prize in Literature. T Ma Hanmao’s comments on the North Island have never been touted – he even pointed out more than once that the first Australian sinologist, Bonnie S. McDougall, who introduced the North Island to the West, described it with an overly absolute compliment. North Island and his work are “not rigorous” for a scholar. u The Sinology researcher who pays attention to the history framework has translated countless contemporary Chinese writers into Germany and has personal contacts with most of them, including Gao Xingjian who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000. In the face of the contemporary Chinese writers who shine in the stars in the 1980s, Ma Hanmao’s prediction of the Nobel Prize for Literature may indicate his highest evaluation of the North Island as a member of the “World Literature” scale.

Similarly, Gu Bin, who has almost covered all North Island poetry and prose translation work, has repeatedly publicly stated that the North Island is the most qualified Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In line with the two German sinologists’ affirmation of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the German-language mass media has a tendency to “canonization” from the 1990s to the North Island. Since the 1990s, almost every German media report, introduction and commentary on the North Island mentions his two identity backgrounds: one is an exiled dissident writer, and the other is repeatedly named “Nobel Prize in Literature”. . In addition to emphasizing the nomination of awards, the German-speaking world’s acceptance of the North Island is also a comparison of his collocation with native literary classics. In the 1990s, Ma Hanmao compared the North American and Burr and other German twentieth-century masters to the book of the Feuilleton book reviewer of the 2010 Frankfurt Report, and retired from history for more than a century, dating back to German romance. The classic poet of the doctrine: “Just like only in Paris to write German Heine, the North Island needs Hong Kong and his American passport to write the main body of displacement in modern history.” Such a comparison is not a book reviewer based on the experience of writers casually pieced together of. Prior to this, the German Broadcasting Station (Deutschlandfunk) Culture Channel used a fairly classical concept of “sublim” on the eve of the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair to promote North Island poetry. In radio broadcasts with higher audience rates than the newspapers, the moderator announced: “The North Island poetry is indeed the most noble poetry of our time.” The word “sublime” has two main sources in the German literary criticism tradition: One is the aesthetics of Kylar’s moral rational philosophy in Das Erhabene, combined with the British and American romantic literature, that is, the freedom to pass the limit by the idea; the other is the 20th century. In Freud’s psychoanalysis, he transcends the individual’s desire instinct and transforms it into Sublimierung of cultural creativity. The German radio station chose to use this concept of rich German native literature and classical modernity to evaluate the poetry of the North Island, even using the highest level of absoluteism. On the one hand, it is the choice of words used by Gu Bin to translate North Island poetry. On the other hand, there is no intention to classicize the works of the North Island in the “world literature” culture represented by the large international book fair.

In fact, since 1980, it first appeared in the German intellectual literary world under the “standard” of the Surkamp culture, which is known for its classics. The spread and acceptance of the North Island in the German-speaking world has been accompanied by his literature. “Classic.” It is worth noting that the “classification” of the North Island in the German-speaking world is also a combination of political and aesthetic factors. In other words, the literary “classification” mentioned here only refers to what Harold Bloom emphasizes in the Western Canon, which should not be due to the political and social influence of the work. The definition of “classification” of expansion is the selection of unique works in a language and literature tradition. The German radio station used “sublime” to describe the poetry of the North Island as supposed to place the creation of the North Island under the aesthetic standards of a Western literary tradition – although this overly succinct book review did not explain the verses of the North Island. Why is it “the most noble”. The commentators mainly focused on the selection of the book of Failure in the North Island poetry translation by Gu Bin in 2009. The analysis of the language, imagery and motif of Beidao poetry in the whole text mostly comes from the hints written by Gu Bin for his postscript. The part is congested with sentences that are not easily understood by Western readers. It is hard to call a qualified poetry commentary. In contrast, the comments in the Frankfurter News are more likely to describe impressions and specific aesthetic appreciation, and incorporate the writer’s literary political career into it:

Semantic breaks, overlapping of themes, where the poetry narrators alternate, the thought processes that do not follow the logic of the discourse, and the magnificent world of poetic images that unfold under this program—these are nervous in the poet The text that appears in the deep gaze. Because all the words are carefully thought out and sorted out on the level of the linguistic sign: “Turn all the golden keys/no doors to you at the end of the unprovoked journey/night.” Such verses are not the independent rendering of the poetry language itself, but a reunion of the poet and the lost home. After being reduced, they are buried in metaphor. … These verses point to the homecoming in the symbolic sense, and at the same time, because this is merely a return to language, they reveal a feeling of strong modernity and universality. x

In this rather convincing commentary, the critic Kurt Drawart starts with the language tension and emotional expression of poetry, links to the political background of the poet’s wandering, and finally gives a high degree of artistic judgment – with ” Poetry of strong modernity and universality should be at least or close to the standard of contemporary “world literature” that can transcend cultural differences between different nationalities. After such appreciating and judging, he put the North Island together with the German poet Heinerie who had been exiled in Paris, and called the North Island a “post-romantic” poet, perhaps more than “Reporting” The reader is convinced. Dravat’s attempt to “classify” the North Island did not examine his poetry under the Chinese language and literature tradition—after all, the commentator was not a Sinologist—but he did combine the aesthetic aspects of art. Therefore, it also belongs to the category of “classification” in the sense of Bloom. However, due to Delavat’s artistic interpretation of the North Island and his acceptance of the identity of the North Island himself, he inevitably deviated from the aesthetic independence that Bloom demanded, and incorporated the reference of the socio-political influence of literature into the judgment. standard. Like Ma Hanmao, Delawat’s commentary on the creation of the North Island is also a writer’s theory. At the beginning of this review, it can be seen: “Everyone who has seen the North Island remembers his anxious eyes, and the pair seems to be able to The eyes that record everything that happens around them. These eyes can penetrate the things that are observed, thus giving the impression that they seem to be absent but engrossed. This kind of vision that can penetrate the real and reach meaning is not only It belongs to him alone and belongs to the poet North Island and can lead us into the center of his poetry art.” The poet himself is integrated with his literary creation. When his inner feelings flowed into the poetry line, his language broke through the “shackles of the abused ideological sovereign discourse”, and he himself became a “excellent political writer.”

In this way, the North Island’s acceptance of “politicization” in Germany as a whole – or political “classification” – may not be difficult to explain. Some of the above literary criticisms are partly related to the literary analysis of the political identity of the North Island, but this analysis is in line with the previous interpretation of the sinologist Ma Hanmao (including Gu Bin’s introduction to the North Island), both of which are to a foreign intellectual poet. The recognition of the literary spirit demonstrated. In the judgment of literary spirit, the quality of literary works is indistinguishable from the excellence of writers’ personal qualities; for modern writers with “intellectuals” status, character is often expressed in the face of public affairs. It is the political choice of the individual. “We must distinguish between literature and politics” – after the Frankfurt Book Fair, which eventually became a political and cultural farce in 2009, the title of the German Radio Station’s second interview with the North Island was a reference to the poet’s warning. This sentence can roughly sum up the attitude of the North Island when it was interviewed by the German media many times, although both North Island and the reporters clearly know that this “differentiation” is impossible. What made him wary was the dogmas who deviated completely from literature from political beliefs and were wary of equating literary influence with political propaganda. As for German readers who read political concerns in literary resonance, their “classification” of different cultural intellectual poets may also be regarded as an exploration of the spirit of contemporary literature.

Third, literary mechanism and literary exchange

If the award award is an important part of the literary classicization process, then the introduction of North Island as a classic writer of contemporary Chinese literature in Germany is not satisfactory, especially in relation to other Western worlds such as Northern Europe or the United States. In Gu Bin’s words, the North Island did not say what they wanted to hear in front of the German media, and therefore could not be given long-lasting attention in politicized literary acceptance.

The limited political energy and sober literature of the lyric poet slowed down his process of being “classified” under the German literary mechanism, but his work did not stop spreading in the German-speaking world—although poetry creation itself was in the book market. A category that is marginalized. According to the statistics of domestic scholars on the translation of Chinese modern and contemporary literature since 1949, the number of German translations of the total of 7 in the North Island ranks sixth among modern and contemporary writers, and contemporary writers are second only to Mo Yan. The situation of @7 must be attributed to the most important person in the process of the transmission and acceptance of the North Island in the German-speaking world. That is, Gu Bin, who edited the Shimo novels in 1980, ended the previous Chinese literature era. If you count the translations of the North Island published in Austria in recent years, the total number of German translations of his books should be nine, including five poems and two essays. All of the two novels are translated by Gu Bin. The German translations of nearly one hundred works appearing in German journals, newspapers and collections are almost entirely from the hands of Gu Bin. In addition, Gu Bin also participated in the compilation of the North Island entries in several editions of the contemporary world literature dictionary. The translation of the North Island works compiled in this article is based on the book catalogue of the Wei Lixian Translation Center and the libraries of many German libraries. The search also refers to the entry information in the 2011 edition of the writer’s dictionary. In these catalogues sorted by year, we can see that the poet’s Chinese creation and German translation (especially single) are roughly parallel on the historical timeline. After the North Island encountered the bottleneck of poetry creation in the late 1990s, the translation of Gu Bin’s translation in the German literary journal also turned to the new essay written by the North Island, which gradually stopped after 2005. The collection of poems published by the North Island in the 1990s, “The Scenery Above Zero Degree” (1995) and “Unlocking” (1999), after the new century, are included in the two poems published by the Hanzel Publishing House in Munich (2001) and In the book of Failure (2009). Both books have received a lot of attention from the German literary world, especially the latter who paid the same year at the Frankfurt Book Fair in China.

Judging from the publication strategy of the book, in addition to the 2017 art-like hardcover poems “Day and Road” (price 100 Euros, circulation below 100), published by the Austrian small publishing house Thannh?user, the German translation of the North Island The collection of poems was all issued by this large-scale Hanzel press. As one of the largest pure literary publishing houses in Germany, Hanzel Publishing is also dedicated to the publication of foreign literary translations. In the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), which rarely translated Chinese contemporary literature, launched Ba Jin’s “Guanyuan”. 》. In the mid-eighties, after the introduction of a contemporary Chinese literature by the literary journal “Accent” published by Hanzel Publishing, the publishing house successively published works by several female writers such as Zhang Jie, Wang Anyi and Dai Houying. After the 1990s, Gu Bin and Hanzel collaborated to publish his translation of the North Island poetry collection. His poetry group and single essays were also published in Accent, making the North Island the most Favored Chinese contemporary poet. Hanzel Publishing has always closely followed the dynamics of world literature. For example, after Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, the publisher quickly contacted the translator to publish his two works. Compared with the Surkamp Publishing House, which represents the elite culture of intellectuals, Hanzel Publishing has taken into account the “Bildung” orientation of popular aesthetic taste and pure literary classics. The works of Beidao were published several times in this publishing house. On the one hand, it is the cooperation choice of the leading communicator Gu Bin, on the other hand, it also reveals the publisher’s estimation of the poet’s own “classical” potential.

For a poet, the same important communication path as poetry publication, poetry collection, and radio coverage, as well as the poet’s own reading and communication in front of the readers. The preservation of the recitation tradition in the German literary mechanism is particularly evident in the literary category of poetry. Whether it is a German-speaking country or a contemporary poet written in a foreign language, the most important literary public event of the year is the appearance of personal readings and poetry festivals. As one of the first writers to have literary exchanges with the West since 1976, the North Island was introduced by Gu Bin in 1985 by Hans Christoph Buch, President of the West German Writers Association, and Helga Novak and a delegation of German writers such as Peter Schneider met in Beijing. In June of the same year, they were invited to Germany to attend the 3rd Berlin Horizon Art Festival and a recitation in the Berlin City Library. Participating in this recital is a contemporary poet from Asia, East German’s most famous poet singer Wolf Biermann, Swiss novelist Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Nobel Prize winner Gras (Günter) Grass and other contemporary writers in the German literary world are also present to replace the foreign poets who cannot be present. @8 Just like the Shanghai International Literature Week held in China in recent years, the German International Literary Festival and the poetry readings are not only the gathering and introduction of foreign poets, but also the platform for the exchange of contemporary writers’ literature at home and abroad.

Since the 1980s, the North Island has lived in Germany for several times with the support of the German Literature Scholarship Agency, such as the German Academic Exchange Center. There are countless readings and other literary activities, almost every time with his poetry translator Gu Bin. Peer. The cooperation between Beidao and Gu Bin began in the third year after Gu Bin met Shi Mo in his selected collection. Both of them recorded their acquaintances in the 1982 school of Chinese scholar Du Bo Ni in Beijing in their respective articles, 1983. The year’s trip to the Summer Palace, and later to the scattered wines in Europe, there is a long literary journey. Gu Bin from Beidao is a “Puritan” who is extremely harsh on himself. He writes and writes indiscriminately all day long; @9Gubin introduces the German readers to the North Island, which is also “the Puritans among Chinese writers”. A political gesture that is not willing to compromise.” #0 Gubin’s North Island has the same preference for Chinese classics as his own, the inheritance of Spanish modern poetry tradition, and even the ancient melancholy of the Prussian knight; Gu Bin in Beidao’s impression is similar to himself. “I don’t like to talk,” it is like a poet who comes from a strange world but can understand his “silence”. #1北岛 uses “like a tired person to help himself in front of the mirror” to describe Gu Bin’s unique smile, as if the German sinologist was the “I” in the early poetry line that exchanged contempt with the strange world in the mirror. (“We exchanged / just a little contempt / as in the mirror” “Untitled”). The similarity between the translator and the author, the literary “Doppelg?nger” in German, is finally reflected in the literary translation. Gu Bin, who translated the translation of the North Island poetry as “walking on the burning charcoal”, has already announced the last common combination of the poet and the translator in his postscript of the North Island selection of “The Book of Failure”: the common “failure”# 2 – Despite the recognition of this “failure”, Gu Bin is undecided about comments such as “His North Island German translation is better than the original”, and Gu Bin himself as a poet.


In January 2018, the North Island participated in the 4th World Poetry Festival (Poetica) hosted by the University of Cologne and the German Ministry of Education and Research. The scene of the Rose of Time was written on the scene more than ten years ago. This time, Gu Bin did not appear with him on the reading platform. A low male voice followed the smooth recital of the North Island and finished the German translation of Gu Bin’s “Book of Failure.” With applause, the Japanese immigrant poets who hosted the scene presented the most familiar questions in the North Island in German, about the political significance of poetry. The answer to the North Island “This is a very complicated level” caused the audience to laugh. When the North Island tried to use the theme of the 2017 Hong Kong International Poetry Festival – Rilke’s verse “Because there is always an ancient hostility between life and great works” – to explain this “complexity”, The translation professor who knows German literary classics like Gu Bin paused to try to translate Rilke’s poetry from the North Island language to German. North Island’s answer also hovered over Rilke’s verse, and because of time constraints, he could not continue to tell the audience about this “complex” proposition.

As for how the proposition of “life and art opposition” can derive an answer about the political significance of literature, the personal literary experience of the North Island and the acceptance of the “political writer” in the German-speaking world may be the best reference. From Gu Bin’s appreciation of “order” in Shi Mo’s novels to Ma Hanmao’s awakening and resistance of intellectuals read in the “awake” language of the North Island, two German-speaking Chinese and contemporary literary experts in the 1980s on the North Island The assessment continued until the literary drift of the North Island in Germany in 1989. Since then, the North Island in the German literary mechanism has always had the trend of dual “classification” of politics and aesthetics, although the political color is far more concentrated than aesthetic appreciation. Such “classification” is not without risk: lyric poets who have been regarded as “sublime” will be left out because they adhere to the boundaries of literature and politics. On the other hand, the door of the hometown suddenly opened and closed, revealing his “classic” verse that has survived for a few years. As revealed in the four lines of poetry before Rilke’s “old hostility”: “Everyone who pours blood into a work that will last forever may no longer be able to lift this work/ Under the unbearable load, it is worthless.” The North Island, which has been exposed to excessive politicization risks in both foreign countries and hometowns, clearly sees its weakness. Even so, under the recognition of “failure” and the tireless efforts of the German translation poet Gu Bin, the poet should also keep his unique sobriety and try to realize the sublimation of life and works in the “old hostility”.