Abstract

This article examines the principle of commercialization evoked in Zhang Ailing's writing and explores how it frames the subjective value of emotions—particularly desolation—in her fiction. Human relationship in Zhang's world is essentially commercial, in the sense that it is dominated by interest calculation and exchange. This relationship is driven by desires that are relentless and cannot find meaning in any goal. Behind this human relationship is a commercial framework of value that turns any form of subjectivity assuming natural value into a commodity for consumption. This is the mechanism through which desolation in Zhang's fiction is commercialized. By exploring the affective structure of desolation, the author argues desolation assumes natural value by building fatalism into its structure as a natural principle. In doing so, Zhang's aesthetics of desolation presents itself as a petty bourgeois construction for consumption.

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