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Visions of Dystopia in China's New Historical Novels$
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Jeffrey Kinkley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167680

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167680.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

The End of History, Dystopia, and “New” Historical Novels?

Chapter:
(p.197) 6 Conclusion
Source:
Visions of Dystopia in China's New Historical Novels
Author(s):

Jeffrey C. Kinkley

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231167680.003.0006

This concluding chapter explains why Chinese new historical novels can be considered as postmodern. The serious dystopian outlook is itself a major factor linking these novels to modernism. The nonlinear plotting, spectacle, pastiche, trauma, black humor, and carnival absurdity evident in the Chinese novels analyzed in the preceding chapters suggest that these postmodern works “play” like the modernist “subversion.” Liu Zhenyun's One Word Is Worth a Thousand is an acclaimed recent novel that can be said to exemplify the Chinese postmodern. Its highly mannered, minimalist prose calls attention to itself; its subject matter folds in on itself; and its implied view of the “times” is so counterintuitive that some might think of it as “alternate history.”.

Keywords:   Chinese new historical novels, postmodern, Liu Zhenyun, alternate history, Chinese novels

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