The Storyteller Mo Yan Was Named the Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012


Mo Yan said in his speech at Nobel Prize ceremony:

" I am a storyteller.
Telling stories earned me the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Many interesting things have happened to me in the wake of winning the prize, and they have convinced me that truth and justice are alive and well.
So I will continue telling my stories in the days to come"   by Mo Yanh.

We openly express our joy, pride and admiration by Mo Yan, and their incredible stories.


Here are a few paragraphs where Mo Yah talks about the storytellers from his speech at the Nobel prize ceremony. You can read ithe full speech on the official website of the Nobel Prize


© THE NOBEL FOUNDATION 2012

Nobel Lecture

7 December, 2012
By Mo Yan

Storytellers


"...A storyteller once came to the marketplace, and I sneaked off to listen to him. She was unhappy with me for forgetting my chores. But that night, while she was stitching padded clothes for us under the weak light of a kerosene lamp, I couldn’t keep from retelling stories I’d heard that day. She listened impatiently at first, since in her eyes professional storytellers were smooth-talking men in a dubious profession. Nothing good ever came out of their mouths. But slowly she was dragged into my retold stories, and from that day on, she never gave me chores on market day, unspoken permission to go to the marketplace and listen to new stories. As repayment for Mother’s kindness and a way to demonstrate my memory, I’d retell the stories for her in vivid detail.
It did not take long to find retelling someone else’s stories unsatisfying, so I began embellishing my narration. I’d say things I knew would please Mother, even changed the ending once in a while. And she wasn’t the only member of my audience, which later included my older sisters, my aunts, even my maternal grandmother. Sometimes, after my mother had listened to one of my stories, she’d ask in a care-laden voice, almost as if to herself: “What will you be like when you grow up, son? Might you wind up prattling for a living one day?”
A popular saying goes “It is easier to change the course of a river than a person’s nature.” Despite my parents’ tireless guidance, my natural desire to talk never went away, and that is what makes my name – Mo Yan, or “don’t speak” – an ironic expression of self-mockery.
...
After leaving school, I was thrown uncomfortably into the world of adults, where I embarked on the long journey of learning through listening. Two hundred years ago, one of the great storytellers of all time – Pu Songling – lived near where I grew up, and where many people, me included, carried on the tradition he had perfected. Wherever I happened to be – working the fields with the collective, in production team cowsheds or stables, on my grandparents’ heatedkang, even on oxcarts bouncing and swaying down the road, my ears filled with tales of the supernatural, historical romances, and strange and captivating stories, all tied to the natural environment and clan histories, and all of which created a powerful reality in my mind.
...
... I must say that in the course of creating my literary domain, Northeast Gaomi Township, I was greatly inspired by the American novelistWilliam Faulkner and the Columbian Gabriel García Márquez. ...
What I should do was simplicity itself: Write my own stories in my own way. My way was that of the marketplace storyteller, with which I was so familiar, the way my grandfather and my grandmother and other village old-timers told stories. In all candor, I never gave a thought to audience when I was telling my stories; perhaps my audience was made up of people like my mother, and perhaps it was only me.

 ...
A person can experience only so much, and once you have exhausted your own stories, you must tell the stories of others. And so, out of the depths of my memories, like conscripted soldiers, rose stories of family members, of fellow villagers, and of long-dead ancestors I learned of from the mouths of old-timers. They waited expectantly for me to tell their stories. My grandfather and grandmother, my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles, my wife and my daughter have all appeared in my stories. Even unrelated residents of Northeast Gaomi Township have made cameo appearances. Of course they have undergone literary modification to transform them into larger-than-life fictional characters...."

At the end of his speech continues by saying:

"Even though I would prefer to say nothing, since it is something I must do on this occasion, let me just say this:
I am a storyteller, so I am going to tell you some stories...."
And Mo Yan told one last story:
"Bear with me, please, for one last story, one my grandfather told me many years ago: A group of eight out-of-town bricklayers took refuge from a storm in a rundown temple. Thunder rumbled outside, sending fireballs their way. They even heard what sounded like dragon shrieks. The men were terrified, their faces ashen. “Among the eight of us,” one of them said, “is someone who must have offended the heavens with a terrible deed. The guilty person ought to volunteer to step outside to accept his punishment and spare the innocent from suffering. Naturally, there were no volunteers. So one of the others came up with a proposal: Since no one is willing to go outside, let’s all fling our straw hats toward the door. Whoever’s hat flies out through the temple door is the guilty party, and we’ll ask him to go out and accept his punishment.” So they flung their hats toward the door. Seven hats were blown back inside; one went out the door. They pressured the eighth man to go out and accept his punishment, and when he balked, they picked him up and flung him out the door. I’ll bet you all know how the story ends: They had no sooner flung him out the door than the temple collapsed around them.
I am a storyteller.
Telling stories earned me the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Many interesting things have happened to me in the wake of winning the prize, and they have convinced me that truth and justice are alive and well.
So I will continue telling my stories in the days to come.

Thank you all".


Translated by Howard Goldblatt



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