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The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity$
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Charles A. Laughlin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831257

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831257.001.0001

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The Legacy of Leisure and Contemporary Chinese Culture

(p.168) Conclusion
The Literature of Leisure and Chinese Modernity

Charles A. Laughlin

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter examines the impact of the literature of leisure on Chinese culture up to the present day. It looks back on the story of the rise and fall of the modern xiaopin wen as an ideal or paradigm for modern Chinese prose expression and links it to later developments and the contemporary literary situation in China and throughout the Chinese-speaking world. It highlights the resiliency of the modern xiaopin wen by considering the tradition of the zawen pioneered by Lu Xun as well as the persistence of prose lyricism and antiquarianism during the socialist period. It argues that the modern Chinese essay has somehow “picked up where it left off ” in the Republican period, differing only from from other genres of New Literature due to its more self-conscious and positive relationship with the late Ming xiaopin wen and similar informal essays of earlier or later times.

Keywords:   essay, Chinese culture, xiaopin wen, prose, China, literature of leisure, zawen, Lu Xun, lyricism, antiquarianism

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