Paper Swordsmen: Jin Yong and the Modern Chinese Martial Arts Novel

Paperback: $27.00
ISBN-13: 9780824828950
Published: November 2004

Additional Information

360 pages
  • About the Book
  • The martial arts novel is one of the most distinctive and widely-read forms of modern Chinese fiction. In Paper Swordsmen, John Christopher Hamm offers the first in-depth English-language study of this fascinating and influential genre, focusing on the work of its undisputed twentieth-century master, Jin Yong.

    Through close readings of Jin Yong’s recognized masterpieces, Hamm shows how these works combine a rich literary tradition with an extraordinary narrative artistry and an evolving appreciation of the political and cultural aspects of contemporary Chinese experience.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Christopher Hamm, Author

  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Perceptive and well written. . . . Highly recommended.
      China Review International
    • Paper Swordsmen is not merely a history of China’s most important martial arts writer and a critique of his expansive oeuvre, but more importantly an elegantly written, exhaustively researched, and fascinating analysis of the role of popular fiction in the construction of cultural identity. Hamm beautifully weaves close readings of Jin Young’s novels with solid historical research and critical theory, particularly that of Pierre Bourdieu, to produce a clear, relatively jargon-free analysis that will appeal to the sensibilities of martial arts fiction fans and literary critics alike.
      MCLC Resource Center Publication
    • An eye-opener and an absolute pleasure. Hamm’s immensely readable introduction to Jin Yong’s writing and activities, his analyses of individual texts, and his tracing and placing of these works within the relevant sociopolitical and literary fields will surely be warmly welcomed by scholars and students of Chinese literature and culture.
      Journal of Asian Studies
    • Paper Swordsmen is by far the best treatment in a Western language of a long-neglected topic in Chinese popular culture. Primal notions of bravery, health, cultivation, skill, justice, loyalty, and romantic love are at the core of martial arts fiction. In the modern context of Jin Yong’s Hong Kong, issues of foreign incursion, cultural rootedness, nationalism, and a sometimes-flawed ‘national character’ also come to the fore. Hamm weaves these strands together and sets them perceptively into their Hong Kong/Guangdong context as well as the larger Chinese cultural world.
      Perry Link, Princeton University
    • Hamm’s book is comprehensive and meticulous, touching on a wide range of issues, from generic studies to the question of canon, from readers’ responses to media marketing tactics, and from national allegory to political maneuvering. He asks intelligent questions and answers them from theoretically stimulating perspectives.
      David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University
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