Although James Joyce and Lu Xun were both writing at a time when a new nation was being created out of former empire, little has been written about the extraordinary synchronicities of their early careers or their common mission. Both understood a new nation must first be created in the hearts and minds of its people. Coming from a medical background, each regarded their countrymen as sick in spirit, paralyzed by slavish dependencies. Joyce saw such servility as fostered by Ireland’s long colonization under the British Crown, a subservience seconded by the “tyranny” of the Roman Catholic Church. For Lu Xun, this spiritual paralysis manifested itself as a legacy of the Confucianism of the late Qing dynasty. Working from a medical model, both writers present a detailed, precise, and cold account of the speech of their characters to reveal the true nature of their disease-while allowing the reader to reach his own diagnosis. By means of this new kind of narrative, both James Joyce and Lu Xun sought to liberate the “soul” or “spirit” of their people, granting them a voice of their own which itself clarified to what extent they had been conscripted by the words of others.
Lu Xun visited Hong Kong in 1927 for two days and gave two very important lectures, but for several decades little was known about who made the invitation and who organized the trip. In 1981 Liu Sui claimed that it was Dr. Wong San-yin who invited Lu Xun, and Liu Sui himself was part of a reception team headed by Dr. Wong. In 1993 Zhao Jinsheng revealed that he was the person who had invited Lu Xun and organized his trip and lectures. Recently materials supporting both claims have been discovered and this paper examines these two claims, concluding that Zhao Jinsheng’s account is more reliable.
Although among the modern Chinese intellectuals endeavoring for the enlightenment of the people, Lu Xun is the most rebellious and resolute, his rebelliousness against tradition does not mean that he has nothing to do with tradition itself. On the contrary, in order to fight against a tradition, as a precondition he must have a deep understanding and cognition toward that tradition. The emergence of Lu Xun’s philosophical proposition, “everything is an intermediate object” (yiqie doushi zhongjianwu ), occurs exactly in this way. With the evocation of this philosophical thought, the “intermediate object” (zhongjianwu ), we see the inseparable indigenous tie predestined between Lu Xun and Chinese traditional culture, even while he fiercely fights it. Lu Xun’s innovative idea was produced in the process of deducing and developing the excellent and discarding the worthless in Chinese traditional culture, while absorbing and learning from the advanced thought of the West. Furthermore, his philosophy of the “intermediate object” forms the basis of his study and practice in translation. His purpose in translation is to bravely step out of the circle of inherent traditional culture, to come to the advanced “middle zone” where Chinese and Western cultures collide, and to probe into the new cultural factors from the West. In doing so he seeks to reform and improve Chinese traditional culture, and thus meet “the third era which China has never experienced before.” However, Lu Xun’s idea of “intermediate objects” is neither the traditional idea of the “golden mean” (zhongyong zhidao ) nor that of “hypocrisy” (xiangyuan 乡愿). Unfortunately they are often mixed together into chaos by many people. So it is necessary to have further discussion about these terms and distinguish them separately.
Lu Xun situated himself at the crossroads of agricultural tradition and modernist inception during the tumultuous Republican period. As a result, fraught with his affection towards his origins and aiming to register his modernist sensibilities, he widely scattered various animals throughout his fiction and essays. However, more scholarly attention should be paid to the theoretical interpretations of these nonhuman historical and affective agencies and they deserve to be regarded as unique references to the social and political representations of the Republican era. This paper analyzes how Lu Xun represents animal images and discusses the relationship between animality and humanity in his writings. Employing eco-criticism and Foucauldian bio-politics, I argue that the animalistic reading of “A Madman’s Diary” contrasts with the conventional cannibalistic reading and marks a revolutionary beginning to Lu Xun’s concern towards animality and humanity. Later echoing with the social Darwinism popular at the time, Lu Xun invests more nuanced affects in three different categories of animals through which he contemplates domestication, vulnerability, and self-definition. Finally, I argue that by inventing a discourse of animality and humanity, Lu Xun casts his pioneering gaze on Chinese morality, modern subjectivity, and the natural environment.
This essay rereads Lu Xun’s 1921 story, “Hometown,” by focusing on its nostalgic character. Against the background of a modernizing historical moment in China, the story is about a city-dweller intellectual coming back to his homeland, only to find that nothing there corresponds to his somewhat nostalgic and romantic expectations. For a long period, students of modern Chinese literature have read this story either as a critique of the feudal Chinese culture whose vestige still loomed large in rural areas at the time, or as a literary representation of Lu Xun’s hesitation toward the belief in progress embraced by those who passionately participated the cultural movement. Through a rereading of this text I argue that, instead of shedding a critical light on the economically and culturally backward rural China, here represented by the “homeland” of the protagonist, or showing his hesitation toward the New Cultural Movement, Lu Xun’s narrative of “returning home” indicates how the political radicality of the movement points toward a hope beyond program and calculation.
Since the 1980s, Cultural Studies have analyzed television in the context of the present. They have asked how soap operas and TV series contribute to the circulation of meanings and pleasures in everyday contexts. John Fiskes coined the concept television culture in his very successful book with the same title. Taking The Sopranos as an example, this article shows that quality TV is an outstanding contribution to television culture. The show is more complex, more layered and more intertextual than the shows of the 1980s that Fiske interpreted. The Sopranos is a postmodern cultural phenomenon that appeals to different groups of viewers. It is no longer only about the addicted fans, but also about critical viewers who want to better understand themselves and their lives, and also about connoisseurs and art enthusiasts to whom serial reception becomes a distinctive feature. This article comes to the conclusion that popular culture in the sense of Cultural Studies is still of important political significance in the twenty-first century.