Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature: Volume 35


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Scarecrow Press
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5.7 X 8.5 X 1.3 inches | 1.72 pounds
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About the Author

Li-hua Ying is director of the Chinese and Japanese Program at Bard College. She is also the executive director of the Association of Shufa Calligraphy Education, an academic organization based in the United States.


In 300 multiparagraph entries, Li-hua Ying offers what she declares a controversial definition of Chinese literary modernism: she begins with the May Fourth generation, focuses on literature written in vernacular rather than classical Chinese, and incorporates culturally or politically disparate areas of China. A chronology charts the modernist advance from 1891 to the present. Concise, fully cross-referenced entries profile literary figures, movements, organizations, and publications that shaped the modern literary movement throughout the nation and beyond its political boundaries. An authoritative work.
While there are many similar publications in Chinese, this well-researched reference tool will serve English readers well and is recommended.
Recommended.... This work emphasizes authors and their works, along with relevant historical movements and political events, that have influences the development of modern Chinese literature.... This volume will be useful both for entry-level researches and for those undertaking in-depth study of modern Chinese literature.
Ying, director of the Chinese and Japanese Program at Bard College, takes as her province here literature written in Chinese in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora from the May Fourth Movement (1919) movement to the present. She has chosen to acknowledge "the defining role of the vernacular language" by excluding works written in classical Chinese and "for the sake of convenience" has omitted many Chinese writers in Southeast Asia. Chinese writers who have settled in the West are included if they address the admittedly slippery issue of "Chineseness." Because this dictionary is intended for readers of English, the extensive bibliography provides publication data for Chinese editions (with romanized Chinese titles and their English equivalents) as well as, where they exist, English translations; anthologies, surveys, and general critical works; and critical works on individual authors in English. Orienting the reader are the author's introduction and a chronology. Roughly two-thirds of the volume is the dictionary section, where the majority of admirably cross-referenced entries are biographical (from Lu Xun and Ba Jin of the May Fourth generation to 2000 Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian to younger writers born in the 1960s, such as Yu Hua and Xu Kun). The vast majority of writers will be unfamiliar to all but specialists and veteran readers of Chinese literature, but the biographical and literary details may spur browsers to seek out these writers. Other entries introduce topics such as Cultural Revolution, Rootseeking literature, and Spoken drama. The bibliography makes up about one-third of the book. Highly recommended as a reference and introduction to the diverse literatures of the various modern Chinese cultures too little known in the West.