China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
In this paper I will consider the experiences and voices of the commoners whose lives were impacted by war or trauma. I will explore the artist’s way of “seeing” these people’s trauma in their respective works and discuss the aspects they choose to “represent.” I am particularly interested in investigating the works written on behalf of those who are not capable to write about their personal experiences, such as the dead or the illiterate. Examples will be closely analyzed, from Qu Yuan’s “The Kingdom’s Death” and “The South of the Wall We Fought” to Wang Can’s “Seven Sorrows” and Du Fu’s selected poems such as “The Officer of Shihao,” all of which are works written by poets who themselves were also displaced by war and trauma in the early and medieval China. I also attempt to bring a holistic view of how the sense of guilt, empathy, and/or the ethics may become important factors in the poetic representation of other people’s trauma and displacement.