MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Nicolai Volland’s review of Revolution and Its Narratives: China’s Socialist Literary and Cultural Imaginaries, 1949-1966 (Duke University Press, 2016), by Cai Xiang. The review appears below but is best read online at: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/volland/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk Denton, editor
By Cai Xiang
Edited and translated by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong
Reviewed by Nicolai Volland
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2017)
The past decade has witnessed a renaissance of studies on Chinese socialist cultural production—including literature of the 1950s and early 1960s as well as that of the Cultural Revolution. This trend is observable in both English- and Chinese-language scholarship. Dialogue between these academic communities, however, remains limited, at least as far as published output is concerned. While translators have made available to Chinese readers many English-language studies of, say, Republican era history, the amount of literary criticism translated into Chinese remains limited (with the exception of theory); this is especially so for critical studies of post-1949 literature. Flows in the opposite direction, from Chinese to English, are an even rarer species. Nonetheless, several translation initiatives over the past decade have set out to bring more of contemporary Chinese literary criticism to the attention of English readers. These include Hong Zicheng’s (洪子誠) A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature, translated by Michael Day; and Debating the Socialist Legacy and Capitalist Globalization, a volume of essays edited by Xueping Zhong and Ban Wang. With Cai Xiang’s (蔡翔) Revolution and Its Narratives, translated by Rebecca Karl and Xueping Zhong, we are given a monograph-length study that contains a wealth of fresh and original observations on literature from the 1950s and 1960s, all the while offering insights into current (21st century) academic debates in China. Continue reading