Module 9: Asian Contemporary Literature

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What is modernism in literature primarily defined by?

According to David Der-wei Wang, how do Chinese writers in the post-modern era view writing?

How does the new realist fiction differ from the traditional realist aesthetic?

What is one of the challenges posed by the post – New Period to the cultural dominant of the New Period?

What realization have Chinese writers come to in the postmodern era regarding literature's ability to solve social problems?

Which characteristic is NOT associated with Modern Japanese Literature?

What was one of the first anthologies of Korean literature published in English?

Which country has shown increasing interest in Korean mass market literature due to the popularity of Korean film?

Who is known for producing more serious works among the twentieth century Thai writers?

Which poet is known for writing political poetry in the guise of romance and quasi-erotic pieces?


  • Contemporary Asian Literature: Not to be confused with modern in terms of time, modernism in literature refers to a specific body of work with distinct characteristics.
  • Chinese Literature: Post-New Period, market-oriented, writers have come to realize that literature does not have to be politically active or solve social problems, literature becomes more facetious and playful.
  • Japanese Literature: Modern Japanese Literature is marked by a radical break with tradition, belief that the world is created in the act of perceiving it, celebration of individuality, and concern with the sub-conscious.
  • Korean Literature: Until the 1980s, mostly unknown outside peninsula, increasing diversity in translated works, and improved translations. "Flowers of Fire" was one of the first English anthologies. Fewer works translated in non-English speaking countries, increased interest due to Korean film.
  • Indian Literature: Post-independence, humanistic and progressive trends continued, writers explore themes of single women and Indian arranged marriage system. "The Tenant" by Bharati Mukherjee and "Mrs. Ganapathy's Modest Triumph" by Manjula Padmanabhan are examples.
  • Thai Literature: Early 20th century produced light fiction, but individual writers recognized for producing more serious works. Kukrit Pramoj, Kulap Saipradit (penname Siburapha), Suweeriya Sirisingh (penname Botan), Chart Korbjitti, Prabda Yoon, Duanwad Pimwana, and Pitchaya Sudbanthad are notable. Isan region produced Khamsing Srinawk and Pira Sudham, with the latter writing in English.
  • Arabic Poetry: Mahmud Darwish is a prominent Palestinian poet, known for "Memory for Forgetfulness" (1982), Nizar Qabbani wrote political poetry disguised as romance and quasi-erotic pieces. His works are often misrepresented in the West.


Explore the distinguishing features of Modernist literary movement and the post-New Period in Chinese literature, as well as the influence of market orientation. Delve into the insights of sinologists like David Der-wei Wang on the tendencies of Chinese writers in the postmodern era.

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