This introductory chapter begins with a description of the basic features of Internet literature in China—it is Chinese-language writing, either in established literary genres or in innovative literary forms, written especially for publication in an interactive online context and meant to be read on-screen. The discussions then turn to the main debates in three areas of study that are directly relevant to the present volume: electronic literature, Chinese Internet studies, and postsocialism. The remainder of the chapter details the methodology used in the present study and sets out the book's main objectives: to describe the general phenomenon of Internet literature in China; to analyze examples of literary innovation taking place online; and to show how online publications push the boundaries of the state-regulated publishing system, especially the moral boundaries of what is ideologically considered to be healthy literature. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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