National Rejuvenation and the Bildungsroman, 1900-1959
Harvard University Asia Center 2016
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network June 3, 2016 Carla Nappi
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!