Liang Qichao (late 19C to early 20C): had a vision to the reform of readers' mind. He was
aiming to push for a strong nation including leaders and all citizens. In "On the Relationship
Between Fiction and the Government of the People", he talked about the four powers of fiction
thurification, immersion, stimulation, and lifting and his view that a revolution of China had to
begin with a revolution of China's fiction.
The Four Powers of Fiction The ways in which fiction can work to reform the minds of the
thurification: the ideas gradually spread from the work of fiction into everyday life,
slowly changing perception (this change is spatial)
immersion: When a reader is so engrossed in a novel that he starts to imitate and
assimilate to it (this change is temporal rather than spatial)
stimulation: The sudden evoking of emotions from the reader which causes them to
jump to action and seek change (an immediate rather than a gradual reaction)
lifting: Instead of working from the outside in (like the other powers of fiction), this one
works from the inside out. One transforms into the novel that they are reading and becomes a
part of that world designed by the author.
Liu'E (18571909) A Chinese writer who criticizes the old system and tries to open the minds
of his readers through his writings. He was an advisor in the government. He wrote "The Travels
of Lao Can," and was one of the first people to print reproductions of one of the oldest Chinese
wiritings, from the Shang dynasty.
Travels of Lao Can: was written by Liu E in the early 1900s about a travelling doctor who has a
dream in which he is with two other men from the area he is staying. The three men are standing
at the shore and see a sinking ship, which is a national allegory for the state of China during this
period. The three men row to the sinking ship and try to save the lives of the people on board.
However, corruption of the crew prevents them from being successful.
The Bridal Palanquin: "The Bridal Palanquin” is a short story from the 1920s. It tells the tale
of a young girl who writes short stories and falls in love with another write through exchanging
letters, but kills herself when forced into an arranged marriage. It is an example of "Mandarin
Ducks and Butterfly" (or "Saturday") fiction.
The Confidence in the Game: A short story from the 1920s about a man who is not wealthy, but
likes to dress up elaborately and show off his prized possession, a diamond ring. He lets a girl
wear it but she does not give it back, forcing him to come up with an elaborate scheme to take it
back. This is an example of comfort/Saturday fiction. Also shows the differences between
modern and traditional.
The Windmaster: A short story from the 1920s about a man who is swept up by a windstorm and
saved by a mysterious “windmaster”. He helps the windmaster guard a shed for years while the
windmaster helps people and avenges his family. This is an example of comfort/Saturday fiction.
Zhu Shouju, “The DreamTeller of Shanghai” and Zhou Shoujun, “King of HeartBreaking
Romance” are examples of Mandarin Ducks authors. Tended to be from gentry backgrounds.
Lu Xun and Chen Duxiu: proponents of the May Fourth Movement. He wanted to use fiction
for reform/revolution and was active from the 1910s to the 1930s. He is important because he
was a critic of Saturday fiction.
The Hegemon King Bids Farewell to his Queen: The king is fighting a war against the Hans and
his queen falls for a trick by the Hans and tells the king about it. He asks her to save herself but she refuses and commits suicide after he refuses to let her die by his side. This is a type of Peking
opera from the 1920s. Peking opera was the national culture of the time.
Mei Lanfang: A famous Peking opera performer who rose to popularity during Revolutionary
China in early 1920s to late 1940s. He represented China on the world stage, which was
significant because he was dressed up as a female Peking opera actress. Presented a feminized
view of China in a role that emphasized beauty, vitality and moral fortitude. Showed the history
of China through a traditional role with an emphasis on culture.
Eileen Chang: Critic of Peking opera; began writing fiction in the 1930s. Known for using a
romantic style that is touching, poignant and melancholic.
Zhang Henshui: Prominent Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies writer in the 1930s and was the
author of Shanghai Express. He was so prominent that other authors were penning books under
his name. Wrote comfort fiction
Shanghai Express: A portrayal of Shanghai society in the 1930s as represented through train
compartments, showing that class is based on relationship and money more than family status.
This follows a man who