Unspeakable Anguish: A Study of Bi Feiyu’s Trauma Writing

Chinese Journal of Literary Criticism

No.3, 2018 


Unspeakable Anguish: A Study of Bi Feiyu’s Trauma Writing



Zhang Tanghui


Literature and trauma are closely connected. Trauma is not only a theme and type of content in literary works, but also a motive for literary creation. Bi Feiyu suffered from traumatic experiences in mysterious family history, drifting life and the particular chaotic historical background when he grew up. We can figure out the motivation for his literary creation from the childhood traumatic experiences in difference texts. Bi’s trauma writing touches upon the personal trauma of his own family, the collective political and cultural traumas of the times, and the trauma of modernity in the process of marketization. His writing not only has healing powers, but also serves to preserve memory and witness history. As a particular form of cultural memory, Bi’s trauma writings participate in the collective reconstruction of the historical memory and share with his readers the traumatic experience of the past in the hope of reaching a consensus on trauma in a new moral community.