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The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature: The Creation Society’s Reinvention of The Japanese Shishosetsu


The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature: The Creation Society’s Reinvention of The Japanese Shishosetsu



Both as an intermediary to Western culture and as a cultural force in itself, Japan had a significant impact on the development of modern Chinese literature. However, for the most part, the links of this Sino-Japanese literary relationship have only just begun to receive scholarly attention, making this book's exploration of Japan's role in shaping Chinese cultural modernity an important addition to the literature. By comparing and contrasting what appear to be similar narrative modes between the shishosetsu and work coming out of the Creation Society, Keaveney explores how Chinese writers both appropriated and reconceptualized this Japanese approach. By letting their work retain both self-referentiality and articulations of social concerns, the Chinese authors were able to make the form far more political than it ever was in the hands of Japanese writers.



Publication Date



Palgrave Macmillan


New York


Comparative Literature | East Asian Languages and Societies


Description, cover image, and reviews courtesy of Macmillan.

Subject Areas

Chuang zao she; Chinese literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism; Chinese literature -- Japanese influences; Autobiographical fiction, Japanese -- History and criticism

Author/Editor Bio

Christopher Keaveney is Professor of Japanese Language at Linfield College. He holds a Ph.D. in Japanese and Comparative Literature from Washington University (St. Louis), an M.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from Washington University (St. Louis), and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Manhattan College.

Series Information

Comparative perspectives on modern Asia series


"Chris Keaveney's new book marks an important achievement in the development of modern Sino-Japanese studies. By examining the impact of a literary form first developed in Japan on a community of innovative writers in China of the 1920s, he takes a long way toward understanding the profound cultural interaction between Chinese and Japanese writers early in the last century. It is one thing to assert such a linkage, but Keaveney's accomplishment is actually to demonstrate it in such rich and fine colors. Both sides of the equation are now much better understood. " - Joshua A. Fogel, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Although many have recognized the importance of study in Japan and of the modern Japanese fiction they read there on shaping the literary imaginations of China's first generation of modern writers, The Subversive Self is the first study in English to explore the depth and the contours of this influence. This book is a very significant and highly welcome contribution to the comparative study of modern East Asian literatures. It richly deserves the attention of scholars of both China and Japan, of Asian literatures, and of Comparatists in general." - Robert E. Hegel, Washington University

"Among studies in English on the Creation Society or modern Chinese literary romanticism, this is the first book that relatively advanced students should be advised to read - including upper-division undergraduates who have already read one of the major overall literary histories in the field." - Philip F. Williams, Massey University

The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature: The Creation Society’s Reinvention of The Japanese Shishosetsu