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The Will to Allegory and the Origin of Chinese Modernism: Rereading Lu Xun’s <i>Ah Q—The Real Story</i>

Xudong Zhang

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195338904
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195338904.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Will to Allegory and the Origin of Chinese Modernism: Rereading Lu Xun’s Ah Q—The Real Story

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Ah Q—The Real Story is the most elaborate fictional work by Lu Xun, published in the heyday of the Chinese Vernacular Revolution. This article argues that reading it in modernist terms challenges both the mainstream reading of this text and the conventional assumptions of modernism as an aesthetic and theoretical framework. It aims to show that the significance of this work lies in the formal and formal-political playfulness, even autonomy, in which the social implications of Chinese modernism reside. The article contends that the modernist design of Ah Q lies in its unique formal and narrative engineering of an allegorical subversion and reconstruction of the basic categories of Confucian cultural-imperial order, such as name, words or speech, action, and biography/history.

Keywords: modern China; Chinese Vernacular Revolution; allegorical subversion; Ah Q; Lu Xun

Article.  17295 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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