The Routledge Handbook of Modern Chinese Literature presents a comprehensive overview of Chinese literature from the 1910s to the present day. Featuring detailed studies of selected masterpieces, it adopts a thematic-comparative approach. By developing an innovative conceptual framework predicated on a new theory of periodization, it thus situates Chinese literature in the context of world literature, and the forces of globalization.

Each section consists of a series of contributions examining the major literary genres, including fiction, poetry, essay drama and film. Offering an exciting account of the century-long process of literary modernization in China, the handbook’s themes include:

  • Modernization of people and writing
  • Realism, rmanticism and mdernist asthetics
  • Chinese literature on the stage and screen
  • Patriotism, war and revolution
  • Feminism, liberalism and socialism
  • Literature of reform, reflection and experimentation
  • Literature of Taiwan, Hong Kong and new media

This handbook provides an integration of biographical narrative with textual analysis, maintaining a subtle balance between comprehensive overview and in-depth examination. As such, it is an essential reference guide for all students and scholars of Chinese literature.

chapter |18 pages

General introduction

Writing modern Chinese literature in English

part I|198 pages

Early modern literature (c. 1910s–1942)

section I|76 pages

Realism and the anatomy of Chineseness

chapter 1|13 pages

Lu Xun’s writings

Modernizing Chinese language and consciousness

chapter 2|12 pages

Mao Dun and his masterpieces

chapter 6|13 pages

Fiction of left-wing writers

Between ideological commitment and aesthetic dedication

section II|43 pages

Romanticism and the new people

chapter 8|17 pages

Romanticizing new Chinese in poetry

Zhu Ziqing, Wen Yiduo, Xu Zhimo

chapter 9|12 pages

Yu Dafu’s romantic fiction

Youth consciousness in crisis

section III|40 pages

Modernist aesthetics and sensibilities

chapter 10|12 pages

Modern consciousness and symbolist poetry

Fei Ming, Li Jinfa and others

chapter 11|13 pages

The poetry of Dai Wangshu

Where tradition meets modernism

chapter 12|13 pages

The new sensationists

Shi Zhecun, Mu Shiying, Liu Na’ou

section IV|36 pages

Old and new Chinese on stage and screen

chapter 13|11 pages

Early modern drama

Hong Shen, Ouyang Yuqian, Xia Yan

chapter 14|11 pages

Cao Yu’s plays and Thunderstorm

chapter 15|12 pages

Masterpieces of early cinema

part II|218 pages

Middle modern literature (late 1930s–1977)

section V|43 pages

Poetry and patriotism

chapter 16|14 pages

Zang Kejia and Tian Jian’s poetry

A clarion call for national salvation

section VI|40 pages

Topical plays and modern essays

chapter 21|13 pages

Modern Chinese essays

Zhou Zuoren, Lin Yutang and others

section VII|38 pages

Literature of revolutionary realism

chapter 22|13 pages

Novels of Zhao Shuli and Sun Li

Chronicles of new peasantry

chapter 24|12 pages

Fiction of Yang Mo and Ouyang Shan

From new youth to revolutionary youth

section VIII|41 pages

Proto-feminism and liberal realism

chapter 25|13 pages

Ding Ling’s feminist writings

New women in crisis of subjectivity

chapter 26|13 pages

Eileen Chang’s fiction

A study of alienated human nature

chapter 27|13 pages

Independent writers

Shen Congwen, Xu Dishan, Qian Zhongshu

section IX|52 pages

Literature of socialist realism

part III|79 pages

Late modern literature (late 1970s–early 1990s)

section X|38 pages

Literature of trauma, memory, reflection

section XI|39 pages

Literature of experiments and innovation

chapter 35|14 pages

Avant-garde fiction

Can Xue, Ma Yuan, Yu Hua and others

chapter 36|11 pages

Experimental and opaque poetry

Bei Dao, Shu Ting, Gu Cheng, and others

chapter 37|12 pages

Plays of late modern period

part IV|167 pages

Postmodern literature (late 1980s–present)

section XII|50 pages

Literature of new realism

chapter 38|11 pages

Fiction of Wang Meng and Alai

New approaches to historical fiction

chapter 40|11 pages

Masterworks of Jia Pingwa and Chen Zhongshi

Temporalities of modernity

chapter 41|14 pages

Female neo-realism

Masterworks of Zhang Jie, Wang Anyi, and Chi Li

section XIII|48 pages

Postmodern realism

chapter 42|11 pages

Mo Yan’s fiction

Human existence beyond good and evil

chapter 43|12 pages

Gao Xingjian and Soul Mountain

chapter 45|12 pages

Bi Feiyu’s fiction

Portraits of the disadvantaged

section XIV|67 pages

Literature of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and new media

chapter 46|14 pages

Postwar Taiwan literature

An overview

chapter 47|12 pages

Masterpieces of Taiwan fiction

Chen Yingzhen and Bai Xianyong

chapter 48|13 pages

Masterpieces of Taiwan poetry

Ji Xian and Yu Guangzhong

chapter 49|13 pages

Hong Kong literature

An overview

chapter 50|13 pages

Chinese internet literature

Digital literary genres and new writing subjects