Zhang Xianliang

Zhang Xianliang (jäng shyän-lyäng) [key], 1936–, Chinese writer. During the 1957 antirightist campaign, the Chinese Communists judged his poetry deviant and sentenced him to prison in Ningxia. He was later transferred to a labor reform camp, where he remained for most of the next two decades. After his release in 1979, he began to write fiction that depicts life along China's western frontier and often reflects critically on his own experiences in China's labor camps. His controversial Half of Man Is Woman (1985, tr. 1986) is an autobiographical novel about a man's life in the camps and his sexual difficulties after his release. Through dreams, fantasy, and other modernist devices he develops the theme that Chinese intellectuals have been psychologically emasculated. His labor camp experiences are also the subject of Grass Soup (1992, tr. 1994), an expanded version of the secret diary he kept while imprisoned. Zhang's other writings include Mimosa and Other Stories (1985), Getting Used to Dying (1989, tr. 1991), and My Bodhi Tree (1994, tr. 1996).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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