Astrid Møller-Olsen, "Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction" (Cambria, 2022)


Through an original framework of literary sensory studies, Sensing the Sinophone: Urban Memoryscapes in Contemporary Fiction (Cambria, 2022) provides a comparative analysis of how six contemporary works of Sinophone fiction reimagine the links between the self and the city, the past and the present, as well as the physical and the imaginary. It explores the connection between elusive memories and material cityscapes through the matrix of the senses. Joining recent efforts to imagine world literature beyond the international, this monograph engages in a triangular comparison of fiction from Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei – three Sinophone cities, each with its own strong urban identity that comes with unique cultural and linguistic hybridities.

Sensing the Sinophone combines narratological tools for studying time in fiction with critical concepts of spatiality in order to establish an analytical focus on narrative voice and reliability (including the inaccuracy of memory), structural non-linearity (such as mental time travel), and the construction of fictional parallel cities as loci for plot development. In this study, the conventional sensorium and its role in recollection is explored and amplified to include whole-body sensations, habitual synesthesia, and the emotional aspects of sensations that produce a sense of place or self.

Astrid Møller-Olsen is an international research fellow with Lund University (Sweden), University of Stavanger (Norway), and University of Oxford (United Kingdom); her position is funded by the Swedish Research Council. Dr. Møller-Olsen holds an MA in comparative literature and a PhD in Chinese studies. Her research has been published in Modern Chinese Literature and CultureSFRA ReviewCanadian Review of Comparative LiteraturePrism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, and International Journal of Heritage Studies. She hosts the podcast Sinophone Unrealities and the literary blog

Tong He is a Lecturer in English at Central China Normal University.

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