A Companion to Modern Chinese Literature
This wide-ranging "Companion" provides a vital overview of modern Chinese literature in different geopolitical areas, from the 1840s to now. It reviews major accomplishments of Chinese literary scholarship published in Chinese and English and brings attention to previously neglected, important areas. Offers the most thorough and concise coverage of modern Chinese literature to date, drawing attention to previously neglected areas such as late Qing, Sinophone, and ethnic minority literature Several chapters explore literature in relation to Sinophone geopolitics, regional culture, urban culture, visual culture, print media, and new media The introduction and two chapters furnish overviews of the institutional development of modern Chinese literature in Chinese and English scholarship since the mid-twentieth century Contributions from leading literary scholars in mainland China and Hong Kong add their voices to international scholarship.
traditional Chinese operatic theater (xiqu). Several major figures of the May Fourth Movement advocated spoken drama as a powerful critique of the so‐called immoral conservative tradition that had existed for a thousand years without social significance and literary values. Hu Shi, for example, introduced Ibsen in 1919 as a realist playwright who had examined social ills through their manifestations in family drama, as seen in his A Doll’s House and Ghosts, and in his social problem plays such as
the China Drama Association (Zhongguo xijujia xiehui) in the PRC have testified to his significant contributions to the development of spoken drama. I want to emphasize, however, the lesser‐known fact that all three founding fathers of spoken drama were also at the same time pioneers in Chinese opera reform. Tian Han, for example, scripted not only 63 modern spoken dramas but also 27 traditional operas (including Peking, Hunan, and Henan operas), two Western‐style operas (geju), 12 movie scripts,
pioneered in the Republican era (1921–1949) through his achievements in promoting both spoken drama and opera reform. By the same token, scholarly accounts of Hong Shen, the second founding father of spoken drama, have also emphasized his seminal role in this Western‐imported genre. 170 Xiaomei Chen Modern drama histories indicate that, unlike Tian, who only read about Western drama while studying in Japan from 1916 to 1922, Hong benefited directly from Western culture as the first Chinese
by revolution and collectivity. The distinct feature of socialist cultural leadership—its powerful institutional basis—made Shen feel that he had no part in anything, which caused pains and terrors. Obviously, the historical practices of literature, in the form of institutionalization, far exceeded, in its radicality, Gramsci’s conception of cultural hegemony. In numerous campaigns after 1949, with the gradual consolidation of socialist cultural leadership, Shen Congwen and Hu Feng became the
novels such as Big Breasts and Wide Hips (Fengru feitun, 1995; English 2004) and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out (Shengsi pilao, 2006; English 2008) cover the tortuous, traumatic history of the twentieth century. Gaomi’s peasants are depicted as having no control of various inhuman social systems and brutal political forces. In Frogs and Babies (Wa, 2009), his novel on China’s controversial policy on birth control, both local peasants and family planning workers become victims of the political