To date, many studies have exhaustively explained how and why Yan Lianke deals with both the intimate relationship between disease and biopolitics and the relationship between utopia and dystopia. These are certainly the most important themes in Liven (2004) and Dream of Ding Village (2006). However, biopolitical discourses cannot fully account for the complexity, depth and humanity of these novels, which in addition to exploring the complex and protean meaning of life also represent shenshizhuyi, an expression coined by Yan Lianke to describe his human dilemma in representing the complex relationship between shen 神 (soul, spirit, mind and myths) and 实 (reality). This study aims to describe Yan Lianke’s notion of shenshizhuyi and contends that shenshizhuyi is not only a new mode of representation but also a biopolitical discourse whose origins are found in Franz Kafka’s writings, which describe and represent human nature and the human quandary as well as the process of reification of the subject. Yan Lianke’s achievements are equally important because they also describe human nature and the human quandary in a world that is gradually losing its identity.
"From Franz Kafka to Franz Kafka Award Winner, Yan Lianke: Biopolitics and the Human Dilemma of Shenshizhuyi in Liven and Dream of Ding Village."
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