Travel, Translation and Transmedia Aesthetics review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Robert Moore’s review of Travel, Translation and Transmedia Aesthetics: Franco-Chinese Literature and Visual Arts in a Global Age, by Shuangyi Li. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/robert-moore/. My thanks to Michael Hill, our book review editor for translations/translation studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Travel, Translation and Transmedia Aesthetics:
Franco-Chinese Literature and Visual Arts in a Global Age

By Shuangyi Li


Reviewed by Robert Moore

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2022)


Shuangyi Li, Travel, Translation and Transmedia Aesthetics: Franco-Chinese Literature and Visual Arts in a Global Age. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 267 pp. ISBN 978-9811655616 (cloth).

Shuangyi Li’s Travel, Translation and Transmedia Aesthetics: Franco-Chinese Literature and Visual Arts in a Global Age is a long-form study of four Franco-Chinese writers: Gao Xingjian 高行健, Shan Sa 山颯, Dai Sijie 戴思杰, and François Cheng 程抱一. All were born and raised in China but moved to France during early adulthood and compose works in French. All are also recipients of numerous awards, and one, François Cheng, is a member of the Académie Française, the first Asian-born person to be so honored. Li’s strategy is to demonstrate that all four share a recognizable aesthetic, one that is transmedial and transnational, and only emerges when we are able to understand how the cultures and languages with which they work influence each other simultaneously.

Chapter 1 is an introduction that lays out the conceptual framework for the study. Chapter 2 leads with a short consideration of some of the principal concerns of all four writers before launching into a long analysis of François Cheng’s Le Dit de Tianyi (The River Below in English translation). Chapter 3 discusses historically-minded works by Cheng, Shan, and Dai, with a particular eye on how images and motifs from ancient China can be re-presented and re-imagined in French. Chapter 4 looks at the way calligraphy influences, and is influenced by, the fiction of the same three writers. Chapter 5 concludes the main body of the study with a consideration of how Dai Sijie’s fiction, and Gao Xingjian’s painting, interact with each writer’s respective cinematic interests. Continue reading

China in the World review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Julia Keblinska’s review of China in the World: Culture, Politics, and World Vision, by Ban Wang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/keblinska/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, our literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

China in the World:
Culture, Politics, and World Vision

By Ban Wang


Reviewed by Julia Keblinska

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2022)


Ban Wang, China in the World: Culture, Politics, and World Vision. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2022, xi + 215 pp. ISBN: 9781478010845 (paper).

Ban Wang’s China in the World: Culture, Politics, and World Vision examines how the nation of China was imagined in political discourse and cultural practice vis à vis “a broad spectrum of international outlooks”—that is, conceptions of “the world”—throughout the twentieth century (7). More than a mere history of such worldly outlooks, be they late Qing reformulations of Confucian social concepts of tiānxià 天下  and dàtóng 大同 (“all under heaven” and “great unity,” respectively) or later iterations of socialist internationalism, Wang offers a serious and urgent critique of Chinese Studies and a call to political awareness at a moment when Cold War logics threaten to flatten the nuance and complexity of our field. In accomplishing this task, China in the World is an elegantly efficient volume. Coming in under 200 pages, the text is comprised of an introduction and eight chapters, the initial six of which are devoted to focused historical case studies of literary and cinematic works, while the final two are more polemical, urging an interrogation of the state of the Chinese Studies classroom and articulating the imperative to critically “use the past to understand the present” (170). Continue reading

The Making of Chinese-Sinophone Literatures as World Literature review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Dylan Suher’s review of The Making of Chinese-Sinophone Literatures as World Literature, edited by Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/suher/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, our literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

The Making of Chinese-Sinophone
Literatures as World Literature

Edited by Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang


Reviewed by Dylan Suher

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2022)


Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang, eds., The Making of Chinese-Sinophone Literatures as World Literature. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2022. xi + 249 pp. ISBN 9789888528721.

Listing just a few of the texts analyzed in the 11 chapters of Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang’s The Making of Chinese-Sinophone Literatures as World Literature is a good demonstration of this edited volume’s ambition:

  • A translation by Mao Dun 茅盾 of the Nicaraguan writer Rubén Dario’s story “El velo de la reina Mab” (The veil of Queen Mab);
  • a Taiwanese picturebook about a half-crocodile, half-duck creature’s identity crisis;
  • translations of pseudo-haiku by the poet Chen Li 陳黎 into subway posters, “poetry walls,” and dance pieces.

The editors and nine other contributors to this volume show an admirable lack of complacency in exploring the intersection between Chinese-Sinophone literatures and world literature. But despite the thoughtfulness of the essays collected here, I nevertheless retain some doubts about the volume’s overall framework.

Kuei-fen Chiu and Yingjin Zhang’s introduction, “Chinese-Sinophone Literatures as World Literature” is dedicated to explaining the somewhat unwieldy conceptual contraption of the title. At its core is “world literature”; Chiu and Zhang favor David Damrosch’s definition of world literature as encompassing works that are “actively present within a literary system beyond that of its original culture”[1] while acknowledging that even this effort to open up the category does not do away with the structures of publishing, scholarship, and prestige that favor a Eurocentric canon. Chiu and Zhang use the term “Chinese-Sinophone Literatures” as a way to “distance our position from a preoccupation with ‘China/center/major vs. non-China/periphery/minor debates” (8), charting a course between lumping all literature written in Chinese together and a Sinophone framework that excludes mainland literature and non-Chinese-speaking readers. Chinese-Sinophone literatures, the editors posit, are actively made into world literature as “the work travels beyond national boundaries and gains a new life in world literary space” (11, original emphasis). Chiu and Zhang emphasize a world literature defined not only by texts, but also by the translators and publishers who bring those texts across borders, by the genres used to package those texts for new audiences, and by the technologies and media used to disseminate these texts globally. Continue reading

The Suicide of Miss Xi review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Joan Judge’s review of The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic, by Bryna Goodman. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/joan-judge/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, our book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

The Suicide of Miss Xi:
Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic

By Bryna Goodman


Reviewed by Joan Judge

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2022)


Bryna Goodman, The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2021, 339 pages. ISBN: 9780674248823 (Hardcover)

The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic is a deeply researched thick description of a dramatic suicide that took place on September 8, 1922, a pivotal moment in the unfolding of China’s troubled Republic. Goodman extracts three key facets of the incident that have ramifications for a fuller understanding of the period: gender and the ambiguous status of the New Woman; the stock exchange and the fragility of both economic structures and economic understanding; and the law as manipulable force rather than final arbiter. The story is layered, the key protagonists flawed, and the outcome neither clear nor satisfactory. Miss Xi’s suicide thus stands in for the complexity and unsettledness of the period.

The book “illuminates a moment, after the fall of empire and before the rise of central party rule, when urban Chinese improvised practices of liberal democracy in public life” (24). The moment coincides with the May Fourth period with its forceful narratives of newness and its invocations of the power of Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy. The suicide of Miss Xi highlights how removed those narratives were from the messy contradictions of what Goodman labels the “vernacular” realm. She probes reactions to the suicide in the periodical press and in associational life (native-place associations, chambers of commerce, trade associations [a.k.a., “guilds”], the Jingwu Athletic Association, etc.) for evidence of democratic forces that struggled to assert themselves despite the lack of state scaffolding to support them. Her rich primary source base includes newspapers; associational, professional and women’s journals; and police, commercial, native place, diplomatic, private, and court archives. Through scrutinizing of these materials, she uncovers what she describes as an active “public without a Republic.” Continue reading

Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Lina Qu’s review of Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics, edited by Ping Zhu and Hui Faye Xiao. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/lina-qu/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics

Edited by Ping Zhu and Hui Faye Xiao


Reviewed by Lina Qu

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2022)


Ping Zhu and Hui Faye Xiao, eds. Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2021. xii + 380 pp.
ISBN: 9780815637257 (Paper); 9780815637394 (Hardcover); 9780815655268 (eBook).

Feminisms with Chinese Characteristics, an edited volume by Ping Zhu and Hui Faye Xiao, was published in 2021 by Syracuse University Press in the book series “Gender and Globalization.” In addition to its theoretical interventions, the volume’s originality stems from the way its editing philosophy and content reflect the same feminist politics. The volume is comprised of ten research essays and two interviews; among these, five are translations from Chinese and seven were written in English; half were published previously (between 2001 and 2017) and the other half are newly written. These twelve entries are interconnected through common themes such as the intersection of class and gender, socialist women’s liberation, Chinese feminists’ internal negotiation with the state, and the pivotal role of NGOs on China’s feminist landscape. As a result of Zhu and Xiao’s admirable efforts in selecting, translating, and editing, this polyglossic volume assembles diversified voices (in terms of time, space, language, and identity) of scholars and cultural icons from within and outside China, forming a dialogue that bridges Chinese and English academia. Continue reading

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (3)

This is my short reply to Yunzhong Shu’s inquiry: I studied both Hu Feng and Lu Ling at that time. It’s not necessary to tell the whole process of how and when I sought its publication, save for the fact that it followed the academic standard and  integrity.  I only want to say that during that process, I find some reviews positive and very helpful, while some others just carelessly brushing my work aside without trying to understand how it organizes its arguments and its major points. Again, I hope to read more substantial and responsible reviews in the future.

Best Regards,

Xiaoping Wang

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (2)

As I read Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling, I had the impression that the writing, reviewing and production of the book were all done in haste. Professor Wang claims his monograph was completed more than ten years ago as a byproduct of his dissertation, which contains a 44-page chapter on Lu Ling but nothing on Hu Feng. I am curious to know when Professor Wang submitted his manuscript to Lexington Books for review and what kind of review and production processes the manuscript had gone through before publication.

Yunzhong Shu <yunzhong.shu@qc.cuny.edu>

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review (1)

Dear Colleagues,

I read Prof. Yunzhong Shu’s review of my monograph, and I would like to thank him for offering the review and I welcome the critique. I would like to provide some feedback.

Firstly, I admit that there are some grammatical errors in my book. The monograph was completed more than ten years ago as a byproduct of my dissertation. And when I revised it, I updated some messages based on some new publications of the same subject in the English world in recent years. Before the formal publication, Lexington Press told me that it would offer professional proofreading service. However, when I received the first version of the proof, I found many problems there and personally made more than 3000 changes by myself. I contacted the assistant editor complaining the ill service of the press’ proofreader, and suggested that either the press’ proofreader goes through the whole text once more, or I could hire a professional proofreader by myself, yet the assistant declined my suggestion and ensured me that the project manager and the team are “very capable and have worked hard to ensure your book went to the press in great shape.” As a non-native speaker, I chose to trust in the professional service of the press. This, to be sure, does not mean that I do not admit my fault of not insisting on more proofreading work by myself.

Secondly, even though the book is not an immaculate work, I do not think the grammatical issues would hinder the comprehension of my arguments for those readers responsible. Otherwise, the major part of the first and the second chapter would not have passed the peer review and was published in the English journal Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory in the year of 2012. Continue reading

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Yunzhong Shu’s review of Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling, by Xiaoping Wang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/yunzhong-shu/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, MCLC

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction:
Hu Feng and Lu Ling

By Xiaoping Wang


Reviewed by Yunzhong Shu

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2022)


Xiaoping Wang, Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022. xxxii + 201 pp. ISBN 978-1-4985-6619-3 (cloth); ISBN 978-1-4985-6620-9 (ebook).

Subjectivity and Realism in Modern Chinese Fiction: Hu Feng and Lu Ling consists of an introduction, nine chapters, and a conclusion. In the introduction, the author provides a brief survey of the leftist literary world in China during the War of Resistance, a summary of scholarly works on Hu Feng 胡风 and Lu Ling 路翎 published in English, and a section on his methodology and the structure of his book. Chapter 1, titled “Cultural Capital, Hegemony and the Zeitgeist,”  discusses Hu Feng’s wartime struggle for cultural leadership as a spokesperson for realism and his views on subjectivity. Chapter 2, “Intellectuals’ Politics and a Bourgeois Subjectivity,” examines Hu Feng’s views on critical realism, modern Chinese intellectuals, and bourgeois subjectivity. Chapter 3, “Subjectivity in Loss: Disintegration of Traditional Family and Emergence of Desire,” investigates issues such as “primitive unconsciousness” and “political anxieties” in connection with Lu Ling’s Children of the Rich (财主底儿女们) and Hungry Guo Su’e (饥饿的郭素娥). Chapter 4, “Subjectivity in Search of ‘Bildungsroman’ of Modern Chinese Intellectuals,” discusses moral relativism and the notion of “the people” in Children of the Rich.  Chapter 5, “Subjectivity in Vain: A Fable of the Failure of Bourgeois Social Reforms,” analyzes the mental experiences of Jiang Chunzu 蒋纯祖, a main character in Children of the Rich, together with some other characters in the novel. Chapter 6, “Intellectuals in Predicament: Other Stories,” categorizes characters along a spectrum from “weaklings” to those who “bust out by taking violent rebellious actions” (107) depicted in Lu Ling’s wartime stories. Chapter 7, “Politics of Recognition and Politics of Style,” uses concepts from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind as tools to analyze the language and style in Children of the Rich. Chapter 8, “Self-Other Relationship and the Other as the People,” focuses on the mental states of Jiang Chunzu and his brother Jiang Shaozu 蒋少祖 as intellectuals influenced by the May Fourth enlightenment agenda. Chapter 9, “Lu Ling’s Theory and His Fiction,” approaches Lu Ling’s views on realism from a cultural-political perspective and discusses the similarities and differences between Lu Ling and Hu Feng. In the conclusion, the author briefly discusses the general significance of Hu Feng and Lu Ling in their historical context. Continue reading

Manhua Modernity review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Paul Bevan’s review of Manhua Modernity: Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn, by John A. Crespi. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/paul-bevan/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC book review editor for literary studies, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, MCLC

Manhua Modernity:
Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn

By John A. Crespi


Reviewed by Paul Bevan

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April, 2022)


John A. Crespi, Manhua Modernity: Chinese Culture and the Pictorial Turn. Oakland: University of California Press, 2020. xiv + 236 pp., incl. 75 ills. ISBN 9780520309104 (paperback).

I have met John Crespi in person only once. I’ve always thought this a pity, because we work in similar areas and explore the same sort of material in our research. Our one and only meeting took place quite by chance in a reading room in the Shanghai Library more than a decade ago, at a time when scholars from outside China took library research and fieldwork for granted. I’d been told in advance by Michel Hockx that John would be in Shanghai at the same time as me, but I had made no plans to meet him. One afternoon in the library, on seeing what appeared to be an American man holding a copy of Zhongguo manhua (中國漫畫), I immediately guessed that this was John and promptly introduced myself. For both of us, the research into manhua and pictorial magazines that we carried out in Shanghai—on this occasion, and on subsequent visits—eventually resulted in our respective monographs.

In the introduction to his book, Crespi tells the captivating story of how he was introduced to manhua in the mid-1990s through piles of dusty volumes in an underground warehouse, a converted bomb shelter belonging to the “China Bookstore’s Old Periodicals Department” (1). Today, at a time when Chinese historical magazines of all types have become highly sought after as collectables in China and abroad, a story of exciting discovery and acquisition such as this seems like a dream of another age. The magazines John purchased at the time became the basis for his hugely valuable project, the digitization of the magazine Modern Sketch, and related websites at Colgate University and MIT’s Visualizing Culture project. Continue reading

“Into the Tiger’s Den”

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Julia Keblinska’s translation of “Into the Tiger’s Den,” volume 3 of a lianhuanhua (serial comic) adapted from Qu Bo’s novel Tracks in the Snowy Forest. Find a teaser below. For the full translation, with images of each panel, see: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/into-the-tigers-den/. My gratitude to Julia Keblinska for sharing her work with the MCLC community.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Into the Tiger’s Den 深入虎穴

Adapted from the novel by Qu Bo 曲波 Tracks in the Snowy Forest 林海雪原
Wang Xingbei 王星北 (adaptation); Luo Xing 罗兴 and Wang Yiqiu 王亦秋 (illustrations)[1]

Translated by Julia Keblinska


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March 2022)


Content Summary:

The second volume, “Troops Divide onto Three Roads,” tells the story of a small detachment of soldiers who capture the bandit Luan Ping and search out the “Vanguard Map” of Nipple Mountain’s Horse Cudgel Xu. They then divide into three groups and set out to trace the enemy’s tracks.

This volume follows Yang Zirong as he disguises himself as a bandit and, with only a horse for company, enters the bandit nest on Tiger Mountain to become a deputy colonel under Mountain Vulture. Meanwhile, we also learn how the small detachment mobilizes the masses at Jiapi Valley Village. They organize a civilian-army team, practice skiing, and enthusiastically prepare to annihilate the cruel bandits.

The next volume, “Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy,” recounts how Yang Zirong rejoins the small detachment and destroys Mountain Vulture’s bandit gang together with them.

(1) After Yang Zirong left the small detachment, he rode the speedy steed captured at Nipple Mountain. Following in the footsteps Big Chump had left in the snow, he traveled alone through the forest with only his horse for company. He now sported a full-faced beard and long hair; he looked just like a real bandit. [click here to read the entire text]

Literary Shamanism in Liu Qing’s Fiction

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Literary Shamanism in Liu Qing’s Fiction of Northeast China,” by Qi Wang. This is Qi Wang’s third publication with us on regional writers of Northeast China. She previously published “Shadows and Voices: Shuang Xuetao’s Fiction of Northeast China” and “Frozen Waters and Deathly Wells: Ban Yu’s Fiction of Northeast China.” Below find a teaser for the new essay; to read it in its entirety, go to: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/qi-wang4/. My thanks to Qi Wang for this important contribution to the study of regional writing in China.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Literary Shamanism in
Liu Qing’s Fiction of Northeast China

By Qi Wang


MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February 2022)


Reading History through Words (唇典), Liu Qing’s 刘庆 ( b. 1968) ambitious novel from 2017 that recounts the major historical vicissitudes in northeast China throughout the twentieth century, is an intriguing experience.[1] On the one hand, despite winning the 7th Dream of the Red Chamber Award: The World’s Distinguished Novel in Chinese, one feels rather surprised by the novel’s apparent lack of sophistication in style across a total of 485 pages.[2] The prose is verbose and feels frequently like a somewhat crude draft in need of more work. Its broad range of characters—shamans, villagers, independence fighters, bandits, and communists—demonstrates an excessive repetition in expression and predictability in emotion. Few of the characters in the novel’s vast cast display a truly distinct personality, unique speech, or particular forms of behavior or reaction—of which highly accomplished examples can be found in Shaanxi Opera (秦腔, by Jia Pingwa 贾平凹) and certainly Dream of the Red Chamber (红楼梦, by Cao Xueqin 曹雪芹).[3] In History through Words, the characters tend to feel like one person who assumes assigned roles by merely wearing different masks; there is little effort to craft convincing diversity through speech patterns, personal habits, or reactions emerging organically from a personality rather than imposed by situations from without. Regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or a specific scenario at hand, most characters tend to speak in the same impassioned and urgent tone.[4]

On the other hand, these complaints of mine are accompanied by an equally persistent sense of fascination that propels me to read on. The novel possesses, or seems possessed by, a strange charm, a pulsating vital force enabled by a plenitude of elements from nature: animals, birds, and plants are all indefatigably addressed by their proper names in the text, and they coexist with the human characters in a literary imagination permeated with vivid metaphors that are inspired by these nonhuman life forms as well as by the physical environment. The piling upon each other of nature and nature-inspired metaphors gives rise to a literary universe whose layered uniformity and emphatic homogeneity become tantamount to a passionately elegiac statement about the loss of nature and innocence in the process of modernization. Despite what might be lamented as a lack of modernist sophistication in character building, the novel succeeds in creating a unique literary style and performing an urgent voice, both of which, as we shall see, are shot through with inspirations from traditional shamanism of the region. This essay focuses on the significance of that employment of an apparently outmoded cultural form, not only in the story but also in the structure of the writerly imagination. The novel, however crude in execution at times, exemplifies a thought-provoking strategy of multitude and plenitude, exercising ecological consciousness and enabling tradition and nature to play a role more central than mere atmospheric backdrop on the stage of modernity. When considered within the lineage of northeastern writers such as Duanmu Hongliang 端木蕻良, Xiao Hong 萧红, and, more recently, Chi Zijian 迟子建, whose works have invoked shamanistic elements, Liu’s novel marks impressive progress in experimenting with traditional cultural legacy by internalizing it to produce a peculiar literary form that becomes a book-long ritual of literary shamanism. Tradition and ecology, shorthanded in this case as shamanic vision, are mobilized in an attempt to reframe the structure of looking and narrating. [READ THE ENTIRE ESSAY HERE]

Cultural Revolution Manuscripts review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Richard King’s review of Cultural Revolution Manuscripts: Unofficial Entertainment Fiction from 1970s China, by Lena Henningsen. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/cr-manuscripts/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, our literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Cultural Revolution Manuscripts:
Unofficial Entertainment Fiction from 1970s China

By Lena Henningsen


Reviewed by Richard King

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2022)


Lena Henningsen, Cultural Revolution Manuscripts: Unofficial Entertainment Fiction from 1970s China New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. xviii, 294 pp. ISBN 978-3-030-73382-7; ISBN 978-3-030-73383-4 (ebook)

The young narrator of Dai Sijie 戴思杰’s Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise, a novel mentioned in the volume under review, is among the seventeen million urban youths “sent down” during the Cultural Revolution. With his companion in rustication in a remote mountain village, he earns a respite from manual labour by watching showings of North Korean films in a distant town and returning to perform the action for their village neighbors. Then, finding himself in possession of a trove of translated European literature, he decides to copy them, writing extracts on the inside of his sheepskin jacket for want of paper. Later he retells Alexandre Dumas père’s novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo over several nights to the tailor father of the eponymous seamstress both he and his companion love, and then reads to the young woman from the fiction of Balzac as she works at her sewing machine, improvising thrills when he feels that old Balzac has hit a lull. Continue reading

Urban Horror review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Hongwei Thorn Chen’s review of Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility, by Erin Y. Huang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/hongwei-thorn-chen/. My thanks to our media studies book review editor, Jason McGrath, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Urban Horror:
Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility

By Erin Y. Huang


Reviewed by Hongwei Thorn Chen

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2022)


Erin Y. Huang, Urban Horror: Neoliberal Post-Socialism and the Limits of Visibility Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020. 288 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4780-0809-5 (Paperback) $26.95; ISBN: 978-1-4780-0679-4 (Cloth) $99.95.

In Baober in Love (恋爱中的宝贝, 2004)Li Shaohong’s 李少红 bizarre adaptation of the French romantic comedy Amelie (2001)the eponymous character is introduced with a surrealist montage. A baby is attacked by a cat in a garbage dump. A child, clad in red, encounters a cat monster as school lets out. In a stylized and CGI-laden scene of demolition, the same child screams in terror as the roof to her Beijing courtyard house is removed, and, in a 360-degree orbital shot, a skyline filled with high rises forces itself onto the horizon. The adult Baober, played by Zhou Xun 周迅, is later shown stalking Liu Zhi 刘志, her teenage crush, in a shopping mall, the consumerist utopia that has emerged out of the urban ruins. Their ensuing relationship, consummated in another shopping mall, is troubled by a quarrel over interior decor, as Liu attempts to fill the couple’s apartment loft—located in a repurposed factory—with designer furniture, which the film shows to reenact the demolition of Baober’s home, and more broadly, the effacement of her embodied historical experience. Continue reading