Monthly Archives: May 21, 2016

Emperor Shen’s New Groove: Song Dynasty Exam Reform

Have you ever heard about China’s intense exam culture? Much like its East Asian counterparts, China both loves and loves to hates its exam system. The most infamous, the Gaokao, determines the testtaker’s college choice, and even major in some cases. What if we told you that this exam culture had more than a thousand…read more

How to Be A/Political: The Seven Books of the Sun

Dead just months before the June 4th massacre in Tiananmen Square, Hai Zi is held up as the great “pure” poet of contemporary China, unconcerned with politics. But how true is that? We discuss his epic work, The Seven Books of the Sun, by way of grappling with the question.          …read more

Narration and Revolution: The True Story of Ah Q

How does a low-life moron become one of the great tragic figures in modern Chinese culture? Lu Xun’s 1921 novella¬†The True Story of Ah Q, a masterpiece of the May 4th Movement, presents just such a situation.¬†We discuss the story’s unique narrative choices, and Lu Xun’s varying reception in Taiwan and mainland China.    …read more