Chinese Literature, 1900 to the present

(3036 words)
  • Bonnie S. McDougall (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Introduction

The history of Chinese literature in the 20th century can be described as a series of challenges posed by its writers to its readers and to each other: to view the past as a burden that impedes a creative response to the present; to view China's modernisation as an opportunity to contribute to the country's modernity; to view the present as a disastrous retreat from the glorious culture and civilisation of the past two millennia; to seize a unique moment in China's history for self-development and literary experiment; to take advantage of the fact that the present, like the past, provides the educated elite with a salaried office from which to exercise social and moral leadership.

When the …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
McDougall, Bonnie S.. "Chinese Literature, 1900 to the present". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 August 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1676, accessed 31 August 2014.]