Chapter

Petty Urbanites and Tales of Woe

Wen-hsin Yeh

in Shanghai Splendor

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780520249714
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933422 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249714.003.0007
Petty Urbanites and Tales of Woe

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Petty urbanite tales of hardship were practices that stemmed from particular notions about the literary representability of social reality. Individual tales of woe were anything but personal concerns. Detailed narratives about daily lives were the materials that made up society. Journal editors set aside space and encouraged amateur contributions. The lines were purposefully crossed between truthful representations of social experience and mediated constructions in the service of social ideology. The very conditions that enabled the public representation of personal circumstances had placed the tales in a liminal space between the authentic and the fabricated. The tales had become introspective, in other words, to sketch the inner workings of petty urbanite thinking. The public nature of this self-representation is also linked to the literary debut of the petty urbanites in the pages of Shanghai's popular magazines.

Keywords: social reality; social ideology; petty urbanite thinking; Shanghai

Chapter.  10057 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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