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From Ah Q to Lei FengFreud and Revolutionary Spirit in 20th Century China$
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Wendy Larson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804700757

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804700757.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
From Ah Q to Lei Feng
Stanford University Press

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) theorized an unconscious in which repressed sexual desire continually influences nearly every aspect of life. This combination of the unconscious and repressed sexual desire became a dominant perspective in Western cultural life, but also found its way in studies of modern Chinese literature. This book traces the history of Freudian sexual theory and deconstructs it in order to demonstrate the naturalized discursive environment underlying researchers' preoccupation with sexuality and concepts such as repression or sublimation. It shows how Freudian sexual and mental theory assumed a critical place within the cultural field (and within psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy) over the century. It also looks at the introduction of modern psychology and Freudian theory in China, along with the development of theories of the mind in revolutionary culture. The book also offers an interpretation each for the work of three Chinese writers and two filmmakers who all express a strong thematic interest in sexual desire and behavior: Mang Ke, Wang Xiaobo, Jiang Wen, Anchee Min, and He Jianjun.

Keywords:   Sigmund Freud, sexual desire, Chinese literature, Freudian sexual theory, Jiang Wen, China, theories of the mind, Wang Xiaobo, Mang Ke, Anchee Min

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