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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the different concepts discussed in this book Configurations of the Real in Chinese Literary and Aesthetic Modernity. The book discusses the rhetoric of exemplarity which haunts as much the discourse of national character as it does practically the whole of modern Chinese aesthetics itself. . A fundamental aim of this book is to explore the way Chinese socialist realism needs to be understood as the culmination of the decades-long process by means of which the central premises of this concept of literature are rendered more completely explicit. It is part of the aim of this book to suggest that the qualification of theory as &t;Western&t; introduces a false and ahistorical distinction that is highly misleading.

Keywords: Chinese literature; Chinese socialist realism; modern Chinese aesthetics



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