This essay explores work by Chinese writers of the 1980s and 1990s, arguing that the period between the Cultural Revolution and the late twentieth century economic transformations produced a literary surge not known in mainland China since the May Fourth writers. Drawing on work by Ge Fei, Can Xue, Yu Hua, Mo Yan, Su Tong, and Yu Hua, this essay examines how Chinese writers produced strategies to convey a profound sense of psychic and temporal disorientation and historical suspension. Doggedly avoiding doctrines of historical progressiveness, these writers uproot and contort reality and collapse boundaries between the past and present.


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