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An insightful look into contemporary Chinese avant-garde fiction and the problem of Chinese postmodernity

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Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


The Chinese Postmodern is a pioneering study of today's Chinese experimental fiction, exploring the works of such major writers as Can Xue, Ge Fei, Ma Yuan, Mo Yan, Xu Xiaohe, and Yu Hua from the perspective of cultural and literary postmodernity. Focusing on the interplay between historical psychology and representational mode, and between political discourse and literary rhetoric, it examines the problem of Chinese postmodernity against the background of the cultural-political reality of twentieth-century China.
The book seeks to redefine Chinese modernity and postmodernity through the analyses of both orthodox and avant-garde works. In doing so, the author draws on a number of theories, psychoanalysis and deconstruction in particular, revealing the hidden connection between the deconstructive mode of writing and the experience of history after trauma and showing how avant-garde literature brings about a varied literary paradigm that defies the dominant, subject-centered one in twentieth-century China.
The distinctiveness of The Chinese Postmodern is also found in its portrayal of the changes of literary paradigms in modern Chinese literature. By way of characterizing avant-garde fiction, it provides an overview of twentieth-century Chinese literature and offers a theorization of the intellectual history of modern China. Other issues concerning literary theory are explored, including the relationships between postmodernity and totalitarian discourse, between historical trauma and literary writing, and between psychic trauma and rhetorical irony. This book will appeal to readers in the fields of Chinese literature and culture, modern Chinese history, literary theory, and comparative literature.
Xiaobin Yang is Croft Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi.

Xiaobin Yang is Croft Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Literature in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Mississippi, where he teaches contemporary Chinese literature, film, cultural theory, and comparative cultural studies. His academic publications include Lishi yu xiuci (History and rhetoric: Essays on contemporary Chinese literature) and Fouding de meixue (Negative aesthetics: Literary theory and cultural criticism of the Frankfurt school). An active researcher, Yang was a 2001 recipient of the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Grant awarded by the United States Department of Education.

". . . makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the modern Chinese literary and historical narrative and its rebel: the avant-garde."
Journal of Asian Studies

- Ban Wang, Rutgers Univ

". . . a welcome subversion of attempts by some critics to draw a rigid line between the products of the Cultural Revolution and the following period. . . . researchers in contemporary literature will be grateful to its author for his careful and detailed readings of these complex and demanding fictions."
—Bonnie S. McDougall, The University of Edinburgh, The China Review, Volume 3: No. 1, (Spring 2003)

- Bonnie S. McDougall, The University of Edinburgh