Internet Literature in China

Michel Hockx

Columbia University Press

Internet Literature in China

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Pub Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9780231160827

272 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $50.00£41.95

Pub Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9780231538534

272 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $49.99£41.95

Internet Literature in China

Michel Hockx

Columbia University Press

Since the 1990s, Chinese literary enthusiasts have explored new spaces for creative expression online, giving rise to a modern genre that has transformed Chinese culture and society. Ranging from the self-consciously avant-garde to the pornographic, web-based writing has introduced innovative forms, themes, and practices into Chinese literature and its aesthetic traditions.

Conducting the first comprehensive survey in English of this phenomenon, Michel Hockx describes in detail the types of Chinese literature taking shape right now online and their novel aesthetic, political, and ideological challenges. Offering a unique portal into postsocialist Chinese culture, he presents a complex portrait of internet culture and control in China that avoids one-dimensional representations of oppression. The Chinese government still strictly regulates the publishing world, yet it is growing increasingly tolerant of internet literature and its publishing practices while still drawing a clear yet ever-shifting ideological bottom line. Hockx interviews online authors, publishers, and censors, capturing the convergence of mass media, creativity, censorship, and free speech that is upending traditional hierarchies and conventions within China—and across Asia.
As a well-known figure in the field of modern Chinese literature, Hockx is well positioned to bridge the gap between literary studies and internet culture. His book will become a standard citation in Chinese internet studies. Guobin Yang, author of The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online
A pioneering effort that will set a milestone in the research of online literature and will be a reference work for students and researchers for years to come. Daria Berg, University of St. Gallen
Internet Literature in China is one of the first books to survey the field of electronic literature in China, and Hockx's analyses show the complex interrelations between literary production, internet technologies, and social contexts in postsocialist China. His conclusions challenge and extend received wisdom about how digital technologies affect literary productions in Western contexts. For example, he argues that innovative effects do not require and are not limited to nonlinearity in literary texts. This excellent book should be read by every serious scholar of digital literature, especially those who have based their ideas solely on Western contexts. N. Katherine Hayles, author of How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis
Michel Hockx provides a rare look at the processes of social transformation that have touched the intimate lives of people and communities through web portals, apps, microblogs and other online media. His refreshing ethnography captures a precarious moment of postsocialist literary innovation, transgression, and aberrations in its full complexity. This book is the best introduction available in English to the psychic landscape of contemporary Chinese netizens who know how to play with censors to articulate their personal desires, fantasies, phobias, and exhibitionism. Lydia H. Liu, author of The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious
This important account of the other China is timely and incisive. It reveals a virtual People's Republic that is furtive, creative, and resilient. Hockx speaks insightfully of China's post-socialist past and guides us toward its gravid and disruptive future. Geremie R Barmé, creator of The China Story (www.thechinastory.org)
Hockx has documented a fascinating moment in time. Ross Perlin, Times Literary Supplement
[Internet Literature in China] provides engaging representative snapshots of this digital literary and subliterary universe.... Essential. Choice
Internet Literature in China is a fantastic and novel contribution to the study of literary production in the digital age, and one that is bound to appeal far beyond the field of Chinese literature. Casey Brienza, LSE Review of Books
Michel Hockx's book is the first Western study to provide a global introduction to online literature in China.... In sum, this is an important contribution, not only to Chinese studies but also to the study of digital literature elsewhere in the world. Shuang Xu, China Perspectives
Hockx enables readers to get a vivid and interesting glimpse into the ingenuity, fluidity, interactivity, and transgressiveness of postsocialist China's important cultural phenomenon. Chu Shen, The China Review
Michel Hockx's Internet Literature in China constitutes a path-breaking study on this huge phenomenon and makes a crucial contribution to the mapping of the country's complex and varied system of online literary communities.... Essential reading not only for literary and Internet scholars within the field of Chinese studies, but also for anyone interested in contemporary Chinese culture and society.... Students and non-specialist readers will equally be grateful to Michel Hockx for writing such an easily accessible, informative and engrossing book. Giorgio Strafella, China Information
Essential reading for any researcher interested in Chinese Internet literature and Internet culture. Elisabeth Schleep, Asien: The German Journal on Contemporary Asia
Hockx's meticulous documentation of China's Internet culture is an invaluable contribution for anyone interested in this largely overlooked and essential aspect of postsocialist Chinese society, and constitutes an indispensable resource to the study of globalizing Chinese media culture. Journal of Asian Studies
Acknowledgments
Note on Online Sources
Introduction
1. Internet Literature in China: History, Technology, and Conventions
2. Linear Innovations: Chen Cun and Other Chroniclers
3. The Bottom Line: Online Fiction and Postsocialist Publishing
4. Online Poetry in and out of China, in Chinese, or with Chinese
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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About the Author

Michel Hockx is professor of Chinese at SOAS, University of London, and founding director of the SOAS China Institute. He studied Chinese language and literature at Leiden University in The Netherlands and at Liaoning University and Peking University in China. His research looks at modern and contemporary Chinese literary communities and the way they organize themselves, their relation to the state, and the technologies they employ to distribute their work. He is the author of Questions of Style: Literary Societies and Literary Journals in Modern China, 1911–1937 and A Snowy Morning: Eight Chinese Poets on the Road to Modernity.