Mo Yan’s Work and the Politics of Literary Humor  

Mo Yan in Context: Nobel Laureate and Global Storyteller, ed. Angelica Duran and Yuhan Huang (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2014), pp. 153-166.

Alexa Alice Joubin and Angelica Duran present close readings of the diverse type of humor in Mo Yan’s short stories and novels. Mo Yan’s texts show deep conversation with the long tradition of humor in Chinese writings, as well as the innovations Mo Yan has added to that tradition. Huang and Duran attend to the ways in which silence as comic technique and authorial self-construction works in terms of the character Mo Yan in The Garlic Ballads, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, Pow!, and other novels. The study also teases out Mo Yan’s use of Chinese humor (幽默, youmo), primarily in his novella Shifu: You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh. They conclude with a discussion of the ribald humor of understatement that Mo Yan utilizes in The Republic of Wine and Big Breasts, Wide Hips to comment on sexual pecadillos.

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