From the Crescent Moon Group to the Beijing School
This chapter focuses on the Beijing school essayists who developed a new kind of narrative based in the symbolic and fragmentary model of dreams. The Beijing school is a faction of the returned students from Britain and the United States who were active around Xinyue (Crescent Moon) magazine in the years leading up to Xu Zhimo’s death in 1931. These writers stood for the purity and autonomy of literature and publicly criticized xiaopin wen as represented by the Analects group, whom they accused of not taking art seriously enough. Prose and poetry style were high priorities for the Beijing school. This chapter first considers the essays of the Crescent Moon group before discussing the works of Shen Congwen, Li Guangtian, and He Qifang. It also examines the Beijing school essayists’ position regarding xiaopin wen and their decision to adopt the short prose essay form.
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