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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9782360573103
Collection: Novella de Chine
10 x 18 cm
Weight: 112 gr
Pages: 144
First publication: 27/04/2022

Le Serpent blanc

Translation: Brigitte Duzan

"The Legend of the White Snake" in 1960s China, questions of love and gender

Yan Geling took inspiration from the legend of the White Snake. According to this myth, two spirits half-snake, half-human arrived on Earth to live among us. Near the West Lake in China, the White Snake and her servant the Green Snake, took the form of a woman and her maid. A young man who passed by fell madly in love with the woman and married her. Unfortunately, their secret revealed, the two women return to their snake form to escape the wrath of the husband who felt utterly betrayed.

 In Yan Geling's rewriting of the legend, the dancer Sun Likun was praised at a very young age for her interpretation of the heroine of the ballet "The Legend of the White Snake". But twenty years later, around the late 1960s, she was arrested and kidnapped by the government during the Cultural Revolution. Now prisoner, she remembers the beautiful years during which she was adored. One day, a mysterious young man visits her; he introduces himself as an inspector who has come to interrogate her, but his manners confuse her, while her guards wonder if this man is really who he claims to be.

Built in three parts of different styles, the story alternates between the official report, the public rumors and the intimate story, giving rise to subtle variations on the feeling of love.

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PRESS REVIEW

Une autrice chinoise à découvrir dans ces belles traduction, maison d'édition et collection ainsi que présentation.

(Lyvres, 14/05/2022)
Online article

« Ce livre qui n'est pas tout à fait un roman mais pas non plus une nouvelle, est une petite pépite [...] Une auteure à découvrir et un récit qui nous permet de nous immerger dans la culture chinoise... »

(Dans la Bulle de Manou, 05/05/2022)
Online article

« ... Ensemble, serpent blanc et serpent vert, délicates et rusées, elles ont réussi à déjouer le cauchemar de l'histoire et la violence du patriarcat. Un hommage parfait à toutes les initiatives qui défendent en Chine la dignité de ceux qu'on agrège encore de façon archaïque dans la communauté LGBTI. ... »

(Le Nouvel économiste, 05/05/2022)
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Yan Geling comme Fang Fang et Alexievitch est l’un d’eux : un écrivain de race, une lettrée véritable qui, de son héritage, sait faire un juste usage. Cette découverte, comme un rayon de lumière, a éclairé hier l’obscurité de la nuit où j’en fis la lecture.

(Boojum, l'animal littéraire, 29/04/2022)
Online article

CONTRIBUTORS' BIOGRAPHIES

Brigitte Duzan

Brigitte Duzan is an independent researcher in Chinese literature and cinema and translator of Chinese. Founder and host of two reference websites: chinesemovies.com.fr on Chinese cinema and chinese-shortstories.com on Chinese literature. Her research and translations are mainly focused on Chinese women's literature and Chinese short stories, as well as the cinema adapted from this literature. Animator of the Cycle littérature et cinéma chinois de l’université de Paris (formerly Paris-Diderot), she founded and also animates the Club de lecture de littérature chinois (Chinese Literature Reading Club, former Literature Club of the Chinese Cultural Center in Paris) .



Yan Geling

Née en 1958 à Shanghai, l’écrivaine et scénariste chinoise Yan geling a grandi dans une famille d’intellectuels, écrivains pour la plupart. Son œuvre littéraire, par sa richesse et son originalité, mérite d’être connue en France. Parmi ses ouvrages, plusieurs ont été adaptés au cinéma dont le Criminel Lu Yanshi (2011), réalisé par Zhang Yimou et interprété par Gong Li sous le titre Coming Home (2014). Les personnages féminins de ses récits se caractérisent souvent par leur résistance aux différentes formes de pouvoir.

Photo: © Zhou Peng


COLLECTION

Novella de Chine
ISSN : 2800-9339
Literary texts lying between novel and short story form a specific genre of Chinese literature combining the narrative richness of one with the stylistic qualities of the other, for which French has no specific term, hence the choice to borrow that of novella from English. This genre has become so important in China and has given rise to such original and remarkable works that L'Asiathèque has decided to devote a collection to it, directed by Brigitte Duzan: "Novella de Chine".