Hope and Destruction: A Comparative Analysis of the Consciousness of Death Between Patriotism and Sinking


Sinking (沉淪, 1921), the renowned Chinese novel by Yu Dafu was often compared with a Japanese novel, Melancholy in the Country (田園の憂鬱, 1919), given that both of them are categorized as I-novel. Nevertheless, another Japanese novel, Patriotism(憂国, 1961) by Mishima Yukio actually shares more similarities with Sinking in the aspects of content and the core theme behind. Both Yu Dafu and Mishima Yukio were obsessed with death as a theme, especially when it is linked with sex. Yet, they reflected two totally different attitudes toward death. The paper presents a further discussion on the consciousness of death shown in these two works. Firstly, it focuses on how the core theme of Patriotism is actually the beauty of death instead of patriotism, and Sinking is the one that talks about patriotism. Then, the differences in the roles played by death in these two works are discussed. It ends with the analysis of the cultural reasons why there is such kind of differences between the Japanese and the Chinese novel. The paper aims to provide a brand new angle for the current academic discussion about Sinking by comparing with a rarely compared Japanese novel.

Author Information
Hoi Ching Chow, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2019
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the ACAH2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon