The Chinese Postmodern: Trauma and Irony in Chinese Avant-Garde Fiction
by Xiaobin Yang
University of Michigan Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-472-11241-8
Library of Congress Classification PN98.P67Y35 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 895.13509113

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.
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