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The city in modern Chinese literature and film: configurations of space, time, and gender


, : The city in modern Chinese literature and film: configurations of space, time, and gender. The city in modern Chinese literature and film: configurations of space, time, and gender: xix + 390 pp.

An exploration is presented of the ways in which the city and urban life have been represented in modern Chinese literature and film; based on three aims: to trace the literary and filmic configurations (i.e. symbolic constructions) of the city in modern China; to investigate the ways the city is placed in an ambivalent, if not negative, light in these configurations; and to work toward an understanding of how one can study the nature of the city/country problematic in modern Chinese literary history. Three typical configurations are constructed: the city in space, the city in time, and the city in relation to gender. It is shown how modern Chinese literature and film have contrasted these configurations in the representations of two cities: Beijing, a traditional city dominated by rural values, personal relationships, leisure, and a disdain for Western values; and Shanghai, a modern city dominated by money and exchange values, frantic activity, and the pursuit of pleasure, variety, and Western lifestyles. Many literary and filmic texts are drawn upon, and presented in such a way that, together with certain canonical works interpreted from new perspectives, point to an important structure of urban imagination in modern China.

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