Chinese Literature, 1900 to the present (3036 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Bonnie S. McDougall (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume Chinese Writing and Culture: Modern and Contemporary, 1900-present .



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 …

Citation: McDougall, Bonnie S.. "Chinese Literature, 1900 to the present". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 August 2006 [, accessed 17 May 2022.]

1676 Chinese Literature, 1900 to the present 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.