‘Intoxicating Shanghai’ – An Urban Montage

Art and Literature in Pictorial Magazines during Shanghai’s Jazz Age


In Intoxicating Shanghai, Paul Bevan explores the work of a number of Chinese modernist figures in the fields of literature and the visual arts, with an emphasis on the literary group the New-sensationists and its equivalents in the Shanghai art world, examining the work of these figures as it appeared in pictorial magazines. It undertakes a detailed examination into the significance of the pictorial magazine as a medium for the dissemination of literature and art during the 1930s. The research locates the work of these artists and writers within the context of wider literary and art production in Shanghai, focusing on art, literature, cinema, music, and dance hall culture, with a specific emphasis on 1934 – ‘The Year of the Magazine’.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Paul Bevan is Departmental Lecturer in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford. From 2018 to 2020, he was Christensen Fellow in Chinese painting at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. His first book, A Modern Miscellany, was published by Brill in 2015.
“Scholars of many disciplines have mined Shanghai’s vast trove of Republican-era pictorial magazines to explore that city’s vibrant cosmopolitan popular culture. Bevan’s Intoxicating Shanghai – An Urban Montage argues for attention to pictorial magazines as a medium in themselves and, specifically, “as a major vehicle for the dissemination of the products of ‘avant-garde’ and ‘high’ cultural circles in Shanghai during the 1930s… [T]hrough meticulous research, Bevan ties the contributors and contents of these two magazines into a rich and mutually resonant network of literary, artistic, cinematic and musical culture that helped define the 1930s as Shanghai’s cosmopolitan “jazz age.”… One can well argue that the resolutely empirical approach informing all of Intoxicating Shanghai is precisely what sets it apart from the other studies of Republican-era Shanghai.”
- John A. Crespi, Colgate University, The China Quarterly, Vol. 255, 820-821. "Bevan structures his book around the years 1934 and 1935 to highlight a Chinese art and literature scene that is often absent from English-language books that focus on a largely expat Shanghai based in and around the foreign presence [...] This brief stretch of the 1930s brings to mind the short bursts of world-class art and literature in post-2000 China. They sprouted up almost as quickly as they now seem to be disappearing. These examples can give us hope that literature and art, like hope, spring eternal."
- Susan Blumberg-Kason, in: Asian Review of Books, 25 July 2020
Note on the Illustrations
Note on Copyright
Notes on Romanization and References

Part 1: Introductory Chapters

So This Is Shanghai!

1 Literature and the Pictorial Magazine

2 Art and the Pictorial Magazine

Story One: ‘Huilixian’ 回力線 Hai Alai Scenes by Hei Ying

Part 2: Lu Xun: Art Aficionado and Critic

3 Politics, Art and the Pictorial Magazine

Story Two: ‘Luotuo Nicaizhuyizhe yu nüren’ 駱駝尼采主義者與女人 (Camel, Nietzscheanist and Woman) by Mu Shiying

4 Two Critiques by Lu Xun

Story Three: ‘Molü shan de xiaojie’ 墨綠衫的小姐 (The Lady in the Inky-Green Cheongsam) by Mu Shiying

Part 3: The Rise and Rise of the Pictorial Magazine

5 ‘The Year of the Magazine’, 1934

6 Manhua Artists and the Pictorial Magazine – Guo Jianying, Huang Miaozi and Ye Qianyu

Story Four: ‘Sharen weisui’ 殺人未遂 (Attempted Murder) by Liu Na’ou

Part 4: The Shanghai Jazz Age

7 Cinema, Literature and the Pictorial Magazine, 1934

8 Jazz and Popular Music in Shanghai’s Dancehalls

Such is Shanghai!
Appendix: Notes on Source Material
All those interested in modern art, literature, cinema and popular music in 1930s Shanghai, and anyone concerned with print culture, magazines and the publishing industry during the Chinese Republican Era.
  • Collapse
  • Expand