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The Lure of the Modern

Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937

Shu-mei Shih (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 440 pages
ISBN: 9780520220645
April 2001
$33.95, £27.00
Shu-mei Shih's study is the first book in English to offer a comprehensive account of Chinese literary modernism from Republican China. In The Lure of the Modern, Shih argues for the contextualization of Chinese modernism in the semicolonial cultural and political formation of the time. Engaging critically with theories of modernism, postcoloniality, and global and local cultural studies, Shih analyzes pivotal issues—such as psychoanalysis, decadence, Orientalism, Occidentalism, semicolonial subjectivity, cosmopolitanism, and urbanism—that were mediated by Japanese as well as Western modernisms.
The Global and Local Terms of Chinese Modernism

PART ONE: Desiring the Modern: May Fourth Occidentalism and Japanism
1. Time, Modernism, and Cultural Power: Local Constructions
2. Evolutionism and Experimentalism: Lu Xun and Tao Jingsun
3. Psychoanalysis and Cosmopolitanism: The Work of Guo Moruo
4. The Libidinal and the National: The Morality of Decadence in Yu Dafu, Teng Gu, and Others
5. Loving the Other: May Fourth Occidentalism in the Global Context

PART TWO: Rethinking the Modern: The Beijing School
6. Modernity without Rupture: Proposals for a New Global Culture
7. Writing English with a Chinese Brush: The Work of Fei Ming
8. Gendered Negotiations with the Local: Lin Huiyin and Ling Shuhua

PART THREE: Flaunting the Modern: Shanghai New Sensationism
9. Modernism and Urban Shanghai
10. Gender, Race, and Semicolonialism: Liu Na’ou’s Urban Shanghai Landscape
11. Performing Semicolonial Subjectivity: The Work of Mu Shiying
12.Capitalism and Interiority: Shi Zhecun’s Tales of the Erotic-Grotesque

Semicolonialism and Culture
Later Modernisms: The War Years and Beyond
Shu-mei Shih is Associate Professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature, and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Quite apart from her contributions as a literary critic, Shu-mei Shih is able to historicize literary developments of the period most persuasively. Her analysis of Shanghai, the city, and the literary movement it spawned, is crafted with great sensitivity to both history and literature. In many ways, it is the most inclusive historical study of modern Chinese literature in its formative period."—Prasenjit Duara, author of Rescuing History from the Nation

"Tracing the spectral production of 'Chinese' identity as it is disseminated globally, Shih boldly moves away from using place (ethnicity) and the body (race) to anchor Chinese identity, to argue that the visual (film) and the verbal (language and linguistics) are the most salient ones in the modern and contemporary historical formation. She succeeds brilliantly."—David Palumbo-Liu, author of Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier

"This is the most thoroughly researched study of Chinese modernism published to date. The author's theoretical interventions greatly enrich our understanding of colonial modernity and the stakes of comparison in cross-cultural studies. The book is a major contribution to modern Chinese literary studies and comparative literature."—Lydia Liu, editor of Tokens of Exchange

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