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194 China Review International: Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1998© 1998 by University ofHawai'i Press of Chinese nationalism, so Western concepts and power diplomacy could not prevent the KMT's failure on the mainland. The revolutionary reforms of the Chinese Nationalists did not take place until Chiang moved the seat ofhis government to Taiwan. It took two generations of Chiang's regime, or four decades, for the KMT to modernize their party and society. A large collection of Chiang's papers, long known as the mysterious "Dash'i Archives," have recently been released by die KMT government on Taiwan. These documents, which were not available during the preparation of this book, will be useful for any further discussion on the subject. Xiao-bing Li University of Central Oklahoma Xiao-bing Li is an assistantprofessor ofhistory specializing in Sino-American relations during the Cold War. Lu Tonglin. Misogyny, Cultural Nihilism, and Oppositional Politics: Contemporary Chinese Experimental Fiction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. xi, 235 pp. Hardcover $39.50, isbn 0-8047-2463-6. Paperback $14.95, isbn 0-8047-2464-4. In this book Lu Tonglin unveils a literary project in which the hitherto seemingly subversive tendencies of twentieth-century writing no longer seem able to deploy the dissenting "minority discourse" that was once the mainstay of their "communist fathers." Instead, the majority have elected an "oppositional discourse against this already oppositional ideology," which, writes Lu, may lead to "a dangerous identification witii a conservative position previously occupied by the Confucian grandfathers." In the few phrases just quoted, the reader will have noticed that Lu Tonglin foregrounds, righdy, the dominant patriarchal nature of the lineage of modern Chinese writing. Indeed, these phrases encapsulate the tone ofwhat is an astute and scholarly book that addresses the serious and pervasive concerns about the representation ofwomen and femininity, and the increasing dominance of masculinism and misogyny in the Chinese writerly practice. She makes this compelling claim: "The misogynistic discourse common among contemporary Chinese experimental fiction writers results in part from a subversive intent against the failed women's emancipation movement promoted by May Fourth radicals and the Communist party" (p. 155). Reviews 195 She brings to her discussion a close knowledge ofmodern mainland history informed by personal experience and tempered by scholarly reflection. The texts in question are thus finely historicized and contextualized, and her readings and comments take us beyond the habitual clichés of China-watching area studies and modernized sinology. Indeed, Lu's work is that ofa scholar consistently reflecting on the relatedness ofthe historical reality to contemporary literary production. That recognition ofthe importance ofhistory and her reading of the twentieth century sets her apart from many ofher contemporaries. Similarly, her use of theory is judicious. Given Lu's attention to maintaining within her contextual frame the historical and social realities, it is not surprising that her book should be informed by Luce Irigaray, a French feminist and psychoanalytical theorist who is also, importantly, an activist who, despite her marginalized status within her own academic community, is determined to see feminism at work in society and not confined to bookshelves. In the six chapters of this book, Lu Tonglin provides impressive and well-argued , passionate readings ofa number ofimportant contemporary writers including the two writers whose books have provided such rich pickings for Fifth Generation cinematic exploitation, the novelists Mo Yan {Red Sorghum) and Su Tong {Raise High the Red Lantern). There is also a detailed and fascinating reading of woman writer Can Xue's work, which Lu reads as subversive ofthe patriarchal order. Thus, Lu provides provocative and unorthodox readings of some ofthe better- and lesser-known texts ofpost-Mao experimental fiction. In chapter 4, Lu has some poignant remarks to make on the work of Zhaxi Dawa, who is known for his stories representing the ideological and identity confusion ofpresent-day Tibet. However, his concern over one oppression fails to extend to a more enlightened discursive treatment ofwomen. Indeed, as Lu Tonglin notes, in a Chinese and global context in which "political, cultural and ideological values have become nonsensical," Zhaxi Dawa clings to sexual difference as a provider of meaning, "reducing women to objects and signs that support...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 194-197
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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