1st Edition

Chinese Educated Youth Literature Ambivalent Bodies and Personal Literary Histories

By Gabriel F. Y. Tsang Copyright 2025
    206 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the literary history of the zhiqing, Chinese educated youth, during the liberal 1980s era of the PRC.

    By incorporating personal experiences, literary representation, shared history, and theory, it argues that attention to bodies’ physical/physiological condition, as represented in their fictional works, can reveal their attitudes toward the shifting and anomalous socio-political environments, both at the time of their rustication in Mao Zedong’s era and at the time of writing about their experiences in Deng Xiaoping’s cities. It highlights the ideological transformation of educated youth writers’ malleable fictional bodies preserved and encoded their private ambivalence and dynamic compromises with political and literary dilemmas. By studying these ‘fictional bodies’ this book deciphers the specific significance of labour, hunger, disability, and sexuality, negating simplification of the fabricated embodiment as only containing and delivering iconoclastic spirit, sincere patriotism, personal struggle, socialist ideological control, and feminine self-consciousness.

    Exploring the community of Chinese educated youth, of which Xi Jinping was one, this will be a valuable resource to students and scholars of Comparative literature, Modern Chinese literature and Modern Chinese history.

    Introduction. Questioning the fictional remembrance of bodies past  1. Representing Laboring Bodies from Victims to Heroes  2. Hungry Fictional Bodies as Personal and Cultural Allegories  3. Privatization and Socialization of Impaired/Disabled Bodies  4. Socialism and the Experiment of Writing Female Bodies  Conclusion. Back to our own bodies      


    Gabriel Tsang is Assistant Professor of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University .