Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens: Reportage (The Hungarian List)

Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens: Reportage (The Hungarian List)

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0857423118

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Known for his brilliantly dark fictional visions, László Krasznahorkai is one of the most respected European writers of his generation and the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Here, he brings us on a journey through China at the dawn of the new millennium. On the precipice of its emergence as a global power, China is experiencing cataclysms of modernity as its harsh Maoist strictures meet the chaotic flux of globalism. What remains of the Middle Kingdom’s ancient cultural riches? And can a Westerner truly understand China’s past and present—or the murky waters where the two meet?

Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens is both a travel memoir and the chronicle of a distinct intellectual shift as one of the most captivating contemporary writers and thinkers begins to engage with the cultures of Asia and the legacies of its interactions with Europe in a newly globalized society. Rendered in English by award-winning translator Ottilie Mulzet, Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens is an important work, marking the emergence of Krasznahorkai as a truly global novelist.

Praise for Krasznahorkai
“The contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse.”—Susan Sontag

“Krasznahorkai delights in unorthodox description; no object is too insignificant for his worrying gaze. . . . He offers us stories that are relentlessly generative and defiantly irresolvable. They are haunting, pleasantly weird, and ultimately, bigger than the worlds they inhabit.”—New York Times

“Krasznahorkai is an expert with the complexity of human obsessions. Each of his books feel like an event, a revelation.”—Daily Beast











crisis is the attempt to re-introduce Confucianism into Chinese education. There exist, in Beijing, schools in which instruction takes place according to traditional principles. There are professors who say that we really have to return to this: we need to build a new Confucian structure, we need to reject foreign influence. I, on the other hand, think that is difficult. Many people, Stein says, think the exact same thing, they would agree with these professors, and in his exper— xi

place that they have arrived, they almost don’t need a map, there are signposts almost everywhere, at least for the most famous sites, so that at first they don’t use anything to help guide them along but follow their noses, follow the tourist signs: the first one is next to the Beisi Ta,[184] the monumental structure of the pagoda of the Northern Temple, and immediately they are at the most famous site, the Zhuozheng Garden, and the crowd is horrific, horrific with its unrestrained groups of

endlessly weary. Again he is silent for a long time, but before Stein can speak again, he continues. wu. The garden, however, is an artificial creation. As for myself, if I try to think of a location suitable for withdrawal, I would never seek out a garden. There are many times when I wish to be somewhere in silence. And at such times I do leave. Then with my wife or my friends I go somewhere away from the city. But it never occurs to us to go to a garden. Only to the mountains, the streams,

his mouth is the taste of the Longjing tea. At times the twittering of the birds in the courtyard grow louder. Then it dies away again. wu. Classical culture is the repository of great merits. These values do not disappear. And while there are few to whom this will be important, there will always be some, so that these values will never disappear completely. Is it the sunlight that is warming his back? Then perhaps twilight is already falling. But how is this possible? Didn’t they just

mao. [41] Wang Anshi (1021–86): A famous political reformer, poet and writer. [42] Mi Fei (1051–1107): Also known as Mi Fu. A renowned painter, calligrapher and collector of artworks. [43] Wenzong Ge: The pavilion in Zhenjiang destroyed during the Taiping Uprising. [44] Siku Quanshu (‘Complete Library in Four Sections’): An imperial collection of books transcribed by hand since the 1770s, containing approximately 3,500 works and 2.3 million pages in

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