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Tapestry of Light

Aesthetic Afterlives of the Cultural Revolution

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Yiju Huang

Tapestry of Light offers an account of the psychic, intellectual, and cultural aftermath of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Drawing on a wide range of works including essay, fiction, memoir, painting and film, the book explores links between history, trauma and haunting. Challenging the leftist currents in Cultural Revolution scholarship, the tone pervading the book is a rhythm of melancholia, indeterminacy but also hope. Huang demonstrates that aesthetic afterlives resist both the conservative nostalgia for China’s revolutionary past as well as China’s elated, false confidence in the market-driven future.

Huang engages with prominent Chinese intellectuals, writers, artists and filmmakers, including Ba Jin, Han Shaogong, Hong Ying, Zhang Xiaogang, Jiang Wen and Ann Hui.