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Tales of Futures PastAnticipation and the Ends of Literature in Contemporary China$
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Paola Iovene

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789370

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789370.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 29 February 2020

Accelerating Literary Time

Accelerating Literary Time

Metropolitan Editors at Work

(p.81) 3 Accelerating Literary Time
Tales of Futures Past

Paola Iovene

Stanford University Press

Relying on letters between editors and writers, memoirs, and interviews, the chapter argues that the future is a crucial site of struggle in 1980s Chinese literature. Editors cultivated modes of writing that would testify to brisk literary change. Their practices illustrate a mode of anticipation concerned with how Chinese literature ought to move forward, which was not solely an aspect of discourse but was built into institutional arrangements and enacted in a variety of collaborative endeavors. This concern affected the timing of publication and the formation of literary trends, particularly of avant-garde fiction, and significantly shaped the professional lives of writers, editors, and critics. The chapter historicizes the emergence of Chinese avant-garde fiction in the mid-1980s, showing how it emerged in response to popular genres, and demonstrates that the experience of reading foreign literature provided editors and writers with a shared horizon of literary expectation.

Keywords:   Chinese avant-garde, Chinese popular literature, editors, Chinese literary journals, Chinese modernism, reform era, consumerism, literary market, commercialization

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