Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

uni'wissen 02-2012 ENG

as part of a global group. They say to them- selves: Even though I’m sitting here in a city whose name no one knows in the USA, I can pretend I’m drinking my Frappuccino on Broad- way in New York.” The fact that their “favorite coffee” is actually called an iced latte or a salted caramel mocha doesn’t bother them in the slight- est. Henningsen has found out that people tend to use generic names like “iced coffee” in guest- book entries, and this didn’t change after Chi- nese stores started giving out brochures in which the correct names of the products were translated and explained. Books on the Black Market Living a certain lifestyle and being part of a modern group are also factors that resonate in the consumption of popular literature in China. In her research, Henningsen didn’t confine her in- quiry to the bestseller lists. “Numbers are very easy to manipulate. You never know whether the people really read the books with the highest cir- culation. After all, almost all of us have the tele- phone book lying around at home.” Instead, she uses other sources to get a reliable impression of what people read: She asks her students, who regularly take language study trips to China, to take a look at what’s being offered on the black market and bring her back the top-selling titles. When Henningsen was working on her disserta- tion several years ago, the most popular black- market titles were above all genuine and plagiarized Harry Potter books. Sales of the fan- tasy series went through the roof when the first film adaptation hit the cinemas – a prime example of multimedia marketing. Henningsen studied all manner of plagiarized copies of the series, from amateur translations produced at lightning speed to adaptations in which the protagonist has ad- ventures at culturally significant places in China. Today one of the best-selling authors is Han Han. The literary star compiled a list of 48 titles circulating under his name that he did not write. Several of these plagiarized books have even made their way into Chinese libraries. The young author is a master of self-marketing. In his blog, one of the most widely read in China, he stylizes himself as a rebel, using vulgar language, writing that he has chosen a Japanese porn star as his Dr. Lena Henningsen studied Sinology, musicol- ogy, and political science at Humboldt University in Berlin, Nanjing Normal University in China, and the University of Heidel- berg. From 2004 to 2012 she worked as a lecturer at the Institute of Chinese Studies at the University of Heidelberg. In 2008 she completed her dissertation in Heidelberg, part of which was on plagiarized Harry Potter novels. Since 2012 Henningsen has served as a junior professor at the Institute of Sinology of the University of Freiburg. Her research interests in- clude 20th and 21st century popular literature in China, contemporary Chinese con- sumer culture, and Chinese music. Photo: KunzFurther Reading Henningsen, L. (2011): Coffee, fast food and the desire for romantic love in contemporary China: branding and marketing trends in popular contemporary Chinese-language literature. In: Transcultural Studies 2/2011, p. 232 – 270. Henningsen, L. (2010): Copyright matters: imitation, creativity and authenticity in contem- porary Chinese literature. Berlin. Henningsen, L. (2009): Reich der Fälscher – oder Land der Kreativen? Der chinesische Buchmarkt und (globale) Phänomene der Kreativität. In: Orientierungen 1/2009, p. 34–58. idol, entering into races as a professional race- car driver, and criticizing the educational system of the People’s Republic of China. “Han Han is no dissident, but he is seen as an outspoken per- sonality who is not afraid to say what he thinks in current political and social debates. The readers also consume this feeling of freedom when they buy his books.” 23