What does it mean to be young? Mingwei Song
's new book explores this question in the context of a careful study of the nature and significance of the discourse of youth in modern China. Young China: National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959
(Harvard University Asia Center, 2016) investigates the discursive construction of youth's symbolic meanings and to explore how these meanings underlie the novelistic narrative of modern Chinese youths' personal development. Song situates the study within a broader narrative of the emergence and development of the Chinese Bildungsroman
in careful analyses of works like Wu Jianren's The New Story of the Stone
(with its figure of the old youth), Chen Duxiu's New Youth
journal, Ye Shengtao's Ni Huanzhi
, and the work of Ba Jin, Lu Ling, Lu Qiao, Yang Mo, Wang Meng, and much much more. The book concludes by looking at the contemporary science fiction of Liu Cixin. It's fascinating work, well worth reading for anyone interested in modern Chinese literature and/or the history of youth!