Socialist Cosmopolitanism: The Chinese Literary Universe, 1945-1965

Socialist Cosmopolitanism: The Chinese Literary Universe, 1945-1965

by Nicolai Volland


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Socialist Cosmopolitanism offers an innovative interpretation of literary works from the Mao era that reads Chinese socialist literature as world literature. As Nicolai Volland demonstrates, after 1949 China engaged with the world beyond its borders in a variety of ways and on many levels—politically, economically, and culturally. Far from rejecting the worldliness of earlier eras, the young People's Republic developed its own cosmopolitanism. Rather than a radical break with the past, Chinese socialist literature should be seen as an integral and important chapter in China's long search to find a place within world literature. Socialist Cosmopolitanism revisits a range of genres, from poetry and land reform novels to science fiction and children's literature, and shows how Chinese writers and readers alike saw their own literary production as part of a much larger literary universe. This literary space, reaching from Beijing to Berlin, from Prague to Pyongyang, from Warsaw to Moscow to Hanoi, allowed authors and texts to travel, reinventing the meaning of world literature. Chinese socialist literature was not driven solely by politics but by an ambitious—but ultimately doomed—attempt to redraw the literary world map.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231183116
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2020
Series: Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nicolai Volland is assistant professor of Chinese and comparative literature at the Pennsylvania State University.

Table of Contents

1. The Politics of Texts in Motion
2. The Geopoetics of Land Reform in Northeast Asia
3. Fictionalizing the International Working Class
4. Soviet Spaceships in Socialist China
5. Sons and Daughters of the Revolution
6. Mapping the Brave New World of Literature
Glossary of Chinese Characters

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