Critics have long argued that alienation is the essence of modern culture. Having long served as a theme in literature that profoundly reflects the changes and challenges of modernity, alienation has, after a hiatus of a few decades, undergone a conceptual resurgence during the 1990’s as recent research in the West indicates a correlation with the phenomenon of postmodernity. With the breakdown of communism in vast parts of the world and the development toward pluralistic societies, the field of human possibilities has expanded considerably and the response thereof demands, therefore, a new definition of alienation. If previously alienation signified the lack or loss of individual freedom, it now is an expression of an “overdose” of it, at least in many Western countries. Even in countries with a more established democracy, the unmanageable environmental and societal complexities of the culture of postmodernity inescapably translate into a new kind of alienation.
Copyright © 1999 by Lingnan College. Also available on Artiti: http://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?DocID=10265120-199901-201008040020-201008040020-119-148 (Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.)
Linder, B. (1999). Alienation and the motif of the unlived life in Liu Heng's fiction. Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, 2(2), 119-148.
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