Death, Trauma, and Lu Xun’s Refusal to Mourn

Literary RemainsLu Xun (1881–1936), arguably twentieth-century China’s greatest writer, is commonly cast in the mold of a radical iconoclast who vehemently rejected traditional culture. The contradictions and ambivalence so central to his writings, however, are often overlooked. Challenging conventional depictions, Literary Remains: Death, Trauma, and Lu Xun’s Refusal to Mourn, by Eileen J. Cheng, captures Lu Xun’s disenchantment with modernity and his transformative engagements with traditional literary conventions in his “modern” experimental works. Lurking behind the ambiguity at the heart of his writings are larger questions on the effects of cultural exchange, accommodation, and transformation that Lu Xun grappled with as a writer: How can a culture estranged from its vanishing traditions come to terms with its past? How can a culture, severed from its roots and alienated from the foreign conventions it appropriates, conceptualize its own present and future?

“Eileen Cheng’s study explores Lu Xun’s complex interaction with the past through sophisticated and nuanced analyses of a large corpus of his writings. With its solid textual scholarship and original and illuminating interpretations, her work constitutes an important contribution to Lu Xun studies.” —Kirk Denton, Ohio State University

April 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3595-8 / $54.00 (CLOTH)