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Modernist Poetics in China

Consumerist Economics and Chinese Literary Modernism

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Focuses on the relationship between economics and literature

  • Explores connections between Chinese and Western culture and English and Chinese literary texts

  • Considers the epistemological, social, and experiential aspects of modernist poetics

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Hardcover Book USD 89.99
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About this book

This book examines organizations of consumerist economics, which developed at the turn of the twentieth century in the West and at the turn of the twenty-first century in China, in relation to modernist poetics. Consumerist economics include the artificial “person” of the corporation, the vertical integration of production, and consumption based upon desire as well as necessity. This book assumes that poetics can be understood as a theory in practice of how a world works. Tracing the relation of economics to poetics, the book analyzes the impersonality of indirect discourse in Qian Zhongshu and James Joyce; the impressionist discourses of Mang Ke and Ezra Pound; and discursive difficulty in Mo Yan and William Faulkner.  Bringing together two notably distinct cultures and traditions, this book allows us to comprehend modernism as a theory in practice of lived experience in cultures organized around consumption. 

Tiao Wang is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at the School of Foreign Languages, Harbin Institute of Technology, China. She has published 23 articles, 9 of which are in English, focused on American and European modernism.  She is also co-translator of Yong Bao Teng Tong (2017), a translation of Pain and Suffering by Ronald Schleifer (2014). 

Ronald Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, USA.  His publications in literary modernism include Modernism and Time: The Logic of Abundance in Literature, Science, and Culture, 1880–1930  (2000), Modernism and Popular Music (2011), and A Political Economy of Modernism: Literature, Post-Classical Economics, and the Lower Middle-Class (2018). 

Keywords

  • Modernism
  • contemporary Chinese literature
  • Literature and Economics
  • semiotics
  • Chinese modernism
  • economic humanities
  • corporate capitalism

Reviews

“In the last generation in China, we have lived through one of the most miraculous transformations of culture and experience in human history, with opportunities of enhanced well-being, knowledge, and possibilities of life open to many people throughout our country. In Modernist Poetics in China, a Chinese scholar and an American scholar, working together, trace these transformations in our poetry and fiction, notably in the work of Shi Zhi, Qian Zhongshu, and our Nobel Prize laureate Mo Yan. Written in English, the book carefully unpacks the rich meanings of our Chinese language in order to introduce Chinese literary modernism to the world.”
Yu Jianhua, Senior Professor, Shanghai International Studies University, China  

Modernist Poetics in China is a must read for those hoping to better understand the transpacific estuary of Chinese and English Modernism, shot through with the brackish undercurrents of entrepreneurial, corporate and consumer capitalism. By revealing striking parallels between the jarring economic changes facing English modernists in the early twentieth century and Chinese poets writing in the last decades of the twentieth century, Tiao Wang and Ronald Schleifer unsettle many under-theorized dichotomies and narratives of American or Chinese exceptionalism. By doing so, they have opened a new and essential space to (re)think the global economic and material conditions of Chinese poetics today.”
Jonathan Stalling, Newman Chair of US-China Issues and Professor of International Studies, University of Oklahoma, USA

Modernist Poetics in China fills a gap in the existing scholarship on modernism and it does so exceptionally well. The book has many strengths. The conjoining of canonic Western modernist writers and their Chinese counterparts adds an important new chapter to the evolving study of modernism as a global phenomenon. The investigation of the political economy of modernism in its cultural manifestations beyond the Euro-American focus of most scholarship opens many new avenues in our understanding of modernism in China and beyond. This demonstrates that modernism as we know it in the West is “a complex of epistemological, social, and affective engagements” in any post-traditional society that chooses the path of corporate-consumerist economics. This is a capital step forward. It not only allows us to understand the Chinese experience since Deng Xiaoping but also offers analytical ways and means for understanding any society that follows the same historical evolution.”                                                                     
John Xiros Cooper, Professor Emeritus, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China

    Tiao Wang

  • University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA

    Ronald Schleifer

About the authors

Tiao Wang is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at the School of Foreign Languages, Harbin Institute of Technology, China. She has published 23 articles, 9 of which are in English, focused on American and European modernism.  She is also co-translator of Yong Bao Teng Tong (2017), a translation of Pain and Suffering by Ronald Schleifer (2014). 

Ronald Schleifer is George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, USA.  His publications in literary modernism include Modernism and Time: The Logic of Abundance in Literature, Science, and Culture, 1880–1930  (2000), Modernism and Popular Music (2011), and A Political Economy of Modernism: Literature, Post-Classical Economics, and the Lower Middle-Class (2018). 

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 89.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.