Chapter

Invitation to a Beheading

David Der-wei Wang

in The Monster That Is History

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780520231405
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937246 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231405.003.0002
Invitation to a Beheading

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This chapter deals with the theme of beheading in twentieth-century Chinese literature, focusing on the writings on decapitation by Youhuan Yusheng, Lu Xun, and Shen Congwen. It deals with decapitation as the primal scene of the twentieth-century Chinese imagination of national, ethnic, and personal trauma, and describes the advent of Chinese literary modernity in tandem with the eruption of violence. The chapter suggests that the beheading syndrome is seen as a source of century-long debates on civility versus savagery and nationalism versus colonialism.

Keywords: modernity; monstrosity; Chinese literature; Youhuan Yusheng; Lu Xun; Shen Congwen; decapitation; literary modernity; violence; nationalism

Chapter.  12278 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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