Chapter

Crime or Punishment? On the Forensic Discourse of Modern Chinese Literature

Der-wei Wang David

in Becoming Chinese

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219236
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924413 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520219236.003.0008
Crime or Punishment? On the Forensic Discourse of Modern Chinese Literature

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This chapter examines the scenes of crime and punishment in Chinese literary works from the late Qing period to the late 1940s. It addresses the issue of critical intellectual stances vis-à-vis the state and outlines a literary trajectory that progressed from a representation of violence to the transformation of literature into sites for violence. It argues that a major thrust in the writing of modern Chinese literature has been the compulsion to address social justice, a high-strung, contentious call for justice that turned the printed pages into veritable courtrooms of public appeal.

Keywords: crime; punishment; Chinese literature; violence; social justice; public appeal

Chapter.  20959 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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