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Hua Yan (1682-1756) and the Making of the Artist in Early Modern China explores the relationships between the artist, local society, and artistic practice during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Arranged as an investigation of the artist Hua Yan’s work at a pivotal moment in eighteenth-century society, this book considers his paintings and poetry in early eighteenth-century Hangzhou, mid-eighteenth-century Yangzhou, and finally their nineteenth-century afterlife in Shanghai. By investigating Hua Yan’s struggle as a marginalized artist—both at his time and in the canon of Chinese art—this study draws attention to the implications of seeing and being seen as an artist in early modern China.
Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949)
Author: Yan Wei
In Detecting Chinese Modernities: Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949), Yan Wei historicizes the two stages in the development of Chinese detective fiction and discusses the rupture and continuity in the cultural transactions, mediation, and appropriation that occurred when the genre of detective fiction traveled to China during the first half of the twentieth century. Wei identifies two divergent, or even opposite strategies for appropriating Western detective fiction during the late Qing and the Republican periods. She further argues that these two periods in the domestication of detective fiction were also connected by shared emotions. Both periods expressed ambivalent and sometimes contradictory views regarding Chinese tradition and Western modernity.
Author: Wang Fanxi
Editor: Gregor Benton
Wang Fanxi, a leader of the Chinese Trotskyists, wrote this book on Mao more than fifty years ago. He did so while in exile in the then Portuguese colony of Macau, across the water from Hong Kong, where he had been sent in 1949 to represent his comrades in China, soon to disappear for decades into Mao’s jails. The book is an analytical study whose strength lies less in describing Mao’s life than in explaining Maoism and setting out a radical view on it as a political movement and a current of thought within the Marxist tradition to which both Wang and Mao belonged. With its clear and provoking thesis, it has, since its writing, stood the test of time far better than the hundreds of descriptive studies that have in the meantime come and gone.
Chinese Visions of Progress, 1895 to 1949 offers a panoramic view of reflections on progress in modern China. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the discourses on progress shape Chinese understandings of modernity and its pitfalls. As this in-depth study shows, these discourses play a pivotal role in the fields of politics, society, culture, as well as philosophy, history, and literature. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the Chinese ideas of progress, their often highly optimistic implications, but also the criticism of modernity they offered, opened the gateway for reflections on China’s past, its position in the present world, and its future course.
The essays collected in Fate and Prognostication in the Chinese Literary Imagination deal with the philosophical, psychological, gender and cultural issues in the Chinese conception of fate as represented in literary texts and films, with a focus placed on human efforts to solve the riddles of fate prediction. Viewed in this light, the collected essays unfold a meandering landscape of the popular imaginary in Chinese beliefs and customs.
The chapters in this book represent concerted efforts in research originated from a project conducted at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.

Contributors are Michael Lackner, Kwok-kan Tam, Monika Gaenssbauer, Terry Siu-han Yip, Xie Qun, Roland Altenburger, Jessica Tsui-yan Li, Kaby Wing-Sze Kung, Nicoletta Pesaro, Yan Xu-Lackner, and Anna Wing Bo Tso.
Art and Literature in Pictorial Magazines during Shanghai’s Jazz Age
Author: Paul Bevan
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 dancehall culture, with a specific emphasis on 1934 – ‘The Year of the Magazine’.
In Chinese Character Manipulation in Literature and Divination, Anne Schmiedl analyses the little-studied method of Chinese character manipulation as found in imperial sources. Focusing on one of the most famous and important works on this subject, the Zichu by Zhou Lianggong (1612–1672), Schmiedl traces and discusses the historical development and linguistic properties of this method. This book represents the first thorough study of the Zichu and the reader is invited to explore how, on the one hand, the educated elite leveraged character manipulation as a literary play form. On the other hand, as detailed exhaustively by Schmiedl, practitioners of divination also used and altered the visual, phonetic, and semantic structure of Chinese characters to gain insights into events and objects in the material world.
A Contemporary Chinese Theory of Education
Author: Lan Ye
In Life-Practice Educology: A Contemporary Chinese Theory of Education Ye Lan presents the theory of a contemporary Chinese school of Educology. It consists of two main parts. The first part proposes a fully formulated view on Life-Practice School of Educology and expounds on current thinking in China that denies the independence of educology as a discipline. The second part explains both inherited and new understandings of the Life-Practice School of Educology, covering Chinese traditional culture and the current debate. It further refines the Chinese understanding of Education (jiaoyu 教育) as teaching the knowledge of nature and society, and cultivating a self-conciousness towards life.
Author: Xing Wang
In Physiognomy in Ming China: Fortune and the Body, Xing Wang investigates the intellectual and technical contexts in which the knowledge of physiognomy ( xiangshu) was produced and transformed in Ming China (1368-1644 C.E.). Known as a fortune-telling technique via examining the human body and material objects, Xing Wang shows how the construction of the physiognomic body in many Ming texts represent a unique, unprecedented ‘somatic cosmology’. Applying an anthropological reading to these texts and providing detailed analysis of this technique, the author proves that this physiognomic cosmology in Ming China emerged as a part of a new body discourse which differs from the modern scholarly discourse on the body.