David Wang’s lecture this afternoon about ghosts in contemporary Chinese fiction was another tour de force. Such a wonderful exploration of intriguing question: if China became an atheistic and realist society after 1949, why is are its writers now so fascinated by spirits and the transmigration of souls?
The lecture left me with a lot of questions about the life of the imagination in China today, but also had me wondering about alternative histories — the particular kind of haunting sense that the world could have been different. So you can answer either of the following two questions:
- What story of imaginary hauntings intrigued you the most, and why? Is there a novel you will now read based on Professor Wang’s suggestions? Or…
- In what sense do you imagine the world we have studied is in some way haunted by an historical legacy? If you could write a novel with a haunting or an alternative history, what would it be? Which of the styles that Prof. Wang mentioned would your novel resemble?