In Can Xue's 殘雪's fiction, the crucial connection between emotions (qing 情) and the natural environment (jing 境) has been reinvented. Blending these two concepts, she explores the entangled universe of human feelings against the background of a natural yet surreal dreamscape, where each character is mysteriously yet deeply tied to other creatures, both fantastic and natural, plunging the reader into strong sensory and emotional experiences.

Through this radically new way of expressing emotions and the representation of sometimes weird natural events and creatures, she aspires to far more than telling a story: by transfiguring nature through peculiar sounds and images, she brings human experience into a highly spiritual yet also corporeal realm: indeed, in her fiction, human beings, animals and plants interact continuously building new relationships.

In this chapter, I will show how Can Xue envisages a new pattern of interplay between qing and jing in her novel Zuihou de qingren, in order to develop her own peculiar reinterpretation of the Chinese traditional concept of the harmony between humankind and nature (tianrenheyi 天人合一), while at the same time drawing upon Western literature and philosophy.