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Nostalgic Fragments in the Thick of Things: Yuan Kewen (1890–1931) and the Act of Remembering

Nostalgic Fragments in the Thick of Things: Yuan Kewen (1890–1931) and the Act of Remembering This article delves into the nexus of nostalgia, memory, and visuality by examining the images, objects, and events surrounding Yuan Kewen's remembrances of his father, Yuan Shikai, and their family estate in Huanshang. It also considers Zhang Boju's remembrance of his interactions with Yuan Kewen as another layer of historical memory. Phenomenological analysis of the act of remembering, especially in the work of Edward Casey, will be shown to yield rich insights when applied to China's early twentieth-century Republican culture. Surviving fragments—poems, anecdotes, photographs, and paintings—replete with sensuous and affective images of the past become the loci of memory in which these historical figures lived. Lamentation and reminiscence are also conducted through performance of historical dramas whose gestures of mourning and remembrance allowed Yuan to cultivate feelings of perpetual nostalgia through personal artistic expressions. The act of remembering became symptomatic for Yuan, Zhang, and to a large extent the entire generation of literati who experienced drastic social-political changes in the twentieth century. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture Duke University Press

Nostalgic Fragments in the Thick of Things: Yuan Kewen (1890–1931) and the Act of Remembering

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Copyright
Copyright © 2019 by Duke University Press
ISSN
2329-0048
eISSN
2329-0056
DOI
10.1215/23290048-7497297
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article delves into the nexus of nostalgia, memory, and visuality by examining the images, objects, and events surrounding Yuan Kewen's remembrances of his father, Yuan Shikai, and their family estate in Huanshang. It also considers Zhang Boju's remembrance of his interactions with Yuan Kewen as another layer of historical memory. Phenomenological analysis of the act of remembering, especially in the work of Edward Casey, will be shown to yield rich insights when applied to China's early twentieth-century Republican culture. Surviving fragments—poems, anecdotes, photographs, and paintings—replete with sensuous and affective images of the past become the loci of memory in which these historical figures lived. Lamentation and reminiscence are also conducted through performance of historical dramas whose gestures of mourning and remembrance allowed Yuan to cultivate feelings of perpetual nostalgia through personal artistic expressions. The act of remembering became symptomatic for Yuan, Zhang, and to a large extent the entire generation of literati who experienced drastic social-political changes in the twentieth century.

Journal

Journal of Chinese Literature and CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2019

References