Essays of the Analects Group
This chapter focuses on the Analects group of writers who engaged with the essay as a discourse of enjoyment. The Analects group, which includes contributors to Lin Yutang’s magazines such as The Analects Fortnightly, presided over the peak popularity of the xiaopin wen and the climax of the mid-1930s explosion of literary magazines. Lin Yutang and his followers engaged in a kind of “humor” more derivative of the English familiar essay. They are known for their “contrarian” attitude, one often manifested in discourses on smoking and other forms of enjoyment that were published in their magazines. This chapter examines the themes of humor and enjoyment in the essays of the Analects group and its members’ critique of the values of social reformation and revolution that had been arrogated mainstream status in the literary field of the 1930s. It also considers the utilitarian critique of the Analects group by members of the White Horse Lake group and others through the leftist literary magazine Taibai.
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