Literature as a medium of Intercultural Communication: A Case Study of Mo Yan’s Literature Nobel


Nishit Kumar 王夜 (PhD Candidate, Jawaharlal Nehru University; 2019-20 Harvard Yenching Institute Visiting Fellow)

Update (2/7/2022): This paper has been removed from the series. It has been published as a chapter in the book Discourse on Chinese Language, Literature and Culture (Somya Nayak (ed.)), Bluerose Publishers, 2022.

Abstract: Literature is a medium of intercultural communication and reception of literary creations across cultures can be consolidated through international prizes. Transability of authors, nuances, contexts, and cultures are challenges associated with such prizes. This paper explores the many ways in which literature can serve as an effective medium of intercultural communication and the challenges that can develop during this process. For this, the oeuvre of the Chinese author Mo Yan, the translations of his works in more than fifty languages, and various international prizes becomes the foundation for this analysis. In 2012, Mo Yan became the first Chinese writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Some literary critics have argued that Mo Yan’s prize belongs to his English translator, Howard Goldblatt who made his works available to English readers outside the China. As international awards are a form of recognition of intercultural communication, this paper enquires how the translation of Mo Yan’s works helped to spread Chinese literature and is a perfect case study for intercultural communication.

Based on a form of logical interpretation of texts, this study employs a qualitative method of content analysis. To that extent, this study uses readings of literary texts, criticism, and perspectives. It is based on sources like scholarly research work published in academic journals, books, and print and online media.

Key Words: Chinese literature, translation, Mo Yan, Nobel Prize, intercultural communication

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