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9 The Shanghai School: Westernised Urbanity and Scriptural Mimesis

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Chapter Summary

The problem of coherence is to be found at the heart of discussions on the Shanghai School, due to its modernism, which abandons with difficulty its links with leftist literature. Doubts weigh upon its purity, on the versatile and hybrid path and writing of some of its protagonists, such as Zhang Ziping 張資平, Mu Shiying 穆時英, and even Shi Zhecun 施蟄存. The controversies reveal, in actual fact, the persistence of a classical and idealized conception of literature and art that is projected on this movement so imitative of the bubbling diversity of the Westernized city. Shanghai writers, adopted a new mimetic step, less concerned with the intelligibility of facts than the equation between the word and a certain physiognomy of the city. Modernity reflects a sort of polymorphic contemporaneity, as testified by the subtitle in French, Les Contemporains, which determined the tone of the review Xiandai 現代.

Keywords: modernism; physiognomy; Scriptural Mimesis; Shanghai School; Westernized urbanity



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