The Edge of Knowing
Dreams, History, and Realism in Modern Chinese Literature
- PUBLISHED: August 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, Literary Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 233 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- ISBN: 9780295748115
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Realism and the rhetoric of dreams intersected in modern Chinese literature from the May Fourth Era in the early twentieth century through the period just following the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. The Edge of Knowing investigates this relationship, showing how writers’ attention to dreams demonstrates the multiple influences of Western psychology, utopian desire for revolutionary change, and the enduring legacy of traditional Chinese philosophy. At the same time, modern Chinese writers used their work to represent social reality for the purpose of nation building. Recent political usage of dream rhetoric in the People’s Republic of China attests to the continuing influence of dreams on the imagination of Chinese modernity. By employing a number of critical perspectives, The Edge of Knowing will appeal to readers seeking to understand the complicated relationship between literary form and Chinese history and politics.
Authors & Contributors
Roy Bing Chan is assistant professor of Chinese literature at the University of Oregon.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Sleeping through Catastrophe: Dreams, Cataclysmic Modernity, and the Promises of Literary Realism 2. Dreaming as Representation: Lu Xun’s Wild Grass and Realism’s Social Address 3. Realism’s Hysterical Bodies: Narrative and Oneiric Counternarrative in Mao Dun’s Fiction 4. Sleepless Nights in Fast Socialism: Dream Rhetoric and Fiction in the Mao Era 5. Dream Fugue: Jiang Qing, the End of the Cultural Revolution, and Zong Pu’s Fiction Conclusion: Lu Xun and the Dreams of Politics and Literature Glossary of Chinese Characters Notes References Index
"Chan presents us with a reckoning of Chinese realism that should be of interest to scholars of mimesis, psychoanalysis, socialism, socialist realism, and affect well outside of Asian Studies..... An enjoyable and compelling read."- Modern Chinese Literature and Culture
"Contributes significantly to the discourse of the dream, which... is becoming increasingly relevant in the context of permeation and saturation of the slogan of the Chinese Dream in China."- Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews
"A fascinating study that makes significant contributions to how we understand the relationship between time, dreaming, and materiality in modern literature."- New Books in East Asian Studies
"The Edge of Knowing is a pathbreaking study of a long-neglected aspect of modern Chinese literature."- Charles A. Laughlin, author of The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity
"An innovative reading of literary works that explores the tension between dream narratives and realism."- Richard King, author of Milestones on a Golden Road: Writing for Chinese Socialism