A Modernity Set to a Pre-Modern Tune

Classical-Style Poetry of Modern Chinese Writers


In A Modernity Set to a Pre-Modern Tune, Haosheng Yang provides an in-depth study of the classical-style poems of the most iconoclastic May Fourth Chinese writers (Lu Xun, Yu Dafu, Zhou Zuoren, Guo Moruo, and Nie Gannu) and highlights the five literary masters’ engagement with traditional lyricism as their critical response to the sociopolitical turbulence of twentieth-century China. This study challenges the bias against classical forms as allegedly outdated modes incapable of representing modern reality in current Chinese literary history.
Yang’s fascinating book positions modern Chinese literature’s formalistic nonlinearity, representational experiences, and aspiration for a new voice through an old form as factors that are all crucial to exploring more fully the blurred boundary between the traditional and the modern.

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Haosheng Yang, Ph.D. (Harvard, 2008), is Assistant Professor of Chinese at Miami University of Ohio. She specializes in late Qing, modern, and contemporary Chinese literature and culture and has published a number of articles in the field.
"Haosheng Yang's new monograph is a most welcome addition to the slowly growing scholarly literature in Western languages and Chinese about poetry composed in Classical Chinese during the twentieth century. Her book is distinguished by its discussion of writers who are much better known for their writings in vernacular Chinese druing this period but whose Classical verse is rarely studied in the West or even in China." - Jerry D. Schmidt, University of British Columbia, in: Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, 12:4
INTRODUCTION: New Voices in an Old Form: Rethinking the Classical-Style Poetry of Modern Chinese Writers
CHAPTER 1: The Call to Write: Lu Xun's Poetic Self-Affirmation in a Time of Crisis
CHAPTER 2: An Infatuation with a Skeleton: Yu Dafu's Accidental Loyalism and Classical-Style Poetry
CHAPTER 3: Affection or Disaffection: The Lyricism of the "Traitor" Zhou Zuoren
CHAPTER 4: The Political Transformation of Romantic Lyricism: Guo Moruo's Classical-Style Poems in Response to Mao Zedong
CHAPTER 5: Hard to be Reformed: Nie Gannu and his Classical-Style Poems
All interested in Chinese literature and culture, especially those who are concerned with Chinese poetry and the relations between poetics and politics, tradition and modernity, and literature and history.
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