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‘Life’ as they knew it: Du Zhongyuan’s editorial strategies for the Xinsheng (new life) weekly, 1934-35

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Chapter Summary

One of the pioneering attempts to trace the connections between news reportage and fiction, both in content and style, and between production and audience response, was Leo Lee and Andrew Nathan’s piece on “The Beginnings of Mass Culture". Xin qingnian was ‘about’ an uncompromising embrace of western modernity in fiction and real life. Shenghuo was ‘about’ various things: coping with modernity, in a rather more ambivalent and perhaps grassroots way than Xin qingnian, finding a job, coping with life, and Zou Taofen’s optimistic, self-motivating view of making good in a changing society. Examining Xinsheng as a diachronic narrative suggests the importance of continuities as well as breaks with the past. The continuing concentration on the Japanese occupation of Manchuria is hardly surprising, in light of Du Zhongyuan’s personal and political odyssey.

Keywords: audience response; Du Zhongyuan; western modernity; Xinsheng



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