“Visual Colonization”: A Discussion on “Visual Expression” in Geling Yan’s Novels


Visual culture has increasingly shifted into a dominant culture in contemporary society. More and more visual factors appear in non-visual arts and affect their creation methods, which results in “visual colonization” (Wei, 2009). As a non-visual art, literature is also influenced. This paper illustrates the film adaptation of literary works as a way of “visual colonization”, challenges the techniques of literary creation, and aims to make literary creation market-oriented. In order to satisfy the needs of audience, the visual rules of film art such as the visual thinking and film-making have restrained the literary creation. Particularly, some writers emphasize fostering the technique of visual expression and the use of lens-based narrative strategy. This paper explores four of Geling Yan’s novels, Xiu Xiu: The Sent-down Girl (1996), The Flowers of War (2007), Little Aunt Crane (2008) and The Ninth Widow (2008) to demonstrate the visual narration in her creation. It is concluded that Geling Yan uses the technique of “visual expression” and the montage narrative model in her novels to transcend the boundaries of textual spaces, which is in accordance with the screen aesthetics and wins the favor of adaptation by the film makers.

Author Information
Jia Xin Liu, Jinan University, China
Yuan Hsun Chuang, China University Technology, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2020
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon