New Script and a New “Madman’s Diary”

Michael Gibbs Hill

Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 27, no.1 (Spring 2015), pp. 79-108

In this essay, Hill reconsiders how one of the most radical language reform movements from the first half of the twentieth century—Latinized New Script, or Latinxua Sin Wenz—attempted to produce and reproduce self-consciously literary writing. Through a close reading of “A Crazy Man’s Diary” (Igo Fungz di rhgi) and an examination of its publisher, the New Script Bookstore, Hill examines how aesthetic relationships between New Script and Chinese characters were framed by participants in these debates. A return to this little-explored corner of twentieth-century language reform movements provides new ways to think through the continuum of radicalism, reform, and reaction in the history of modern Chinese literature.