The questions of subjectivity and the literary style of realism, as manifested in Hu Feng's theoretical writings and Lu Ling's fictional writings, occupy a unique position in modern China. By looking more closely into the theoretical and fictional texts and the social-historical subtext, and through a re-examination of the issue of subjectivity and individualism, this book argues that individualism should not be treated as an ahistorical value-system, but understood within changing historical contexts; subjectivity should not be treated as an issue of personal choice, but as class-based and derived from collective community. To differentiate different subjectivities and the diversified foci of individualism in differing historical periods, Xiaoping Wang finds we need to explore the intellectuals' cultural-political strategy by situating them in the particular historical conjuncture and in the particular cultural fields. With this hermeneutical practice, the politics of recognition and the politics of style are mutually illuminated.
Xiaoping Wang is distinguished professor of comparative literature at Tongji University.
Part I Hu Feng’s Notion of “Subjective Fighting Spirit”
Cultural Capital, Hegemony and the Zeitgeist
Intellectuals’ Politics and a Bourgeois Subjectivity
Part II Subjectivity in Lu Ling’s Fiction
Subjectivity in Loss: Disintegration of Traditional Family and Emergence of Desire
Subjectivity in Search of: “Bildungsroman” of Modern Chinese Intellectuals
Subjectivity in Vain: A Fable of the Failure of Bourgeois Social Reforms
Intellectuals in Predicament: Other Stories
Part III The People and the Class Consciousness
Politics of Recognition and Politics of Style
Self-Other Relationship and the Other as the People
Lu Ling’s Theory and His Fiction
About the Author
Theoretically well-informed and methodologically rigorous, this outstanding study of the works of Hu Feng and Lu Ling incorporates the insights brought out by existing works, and departs from them by offering insightful, new interpretations through delving into the larger issues of cultural politics and ideologies during the radical revolutionary era of the 1930s and 1940s in modern China. This significant contribution substantially develops the present scholarship and will contribute significantly to the scholarship on modern Chinese literature and culture studies.
Through analysis of the history and work of Hu Feng and his student Lu Ling, Xiaoping Wang presents a nuanced interpretation of both supportive and oppositional theories bedeviling literary intellectuals and authorities in twentieth century China. Two key concepts, individualism and subjectivity, anchor this rich study, which teases out the fascinating evolution of a modern Chinese literature complicated by a multifaceted history. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the complex history of the literary and intellectual field in modern China.