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10 A Traveling Text: Souvenirs entomologiques, Japanese Anarchism, and Shanghai Neo-Sensationism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter starts with a palm-of-the-hand story written by a Shanghai Neo-Sensationist in 1934. It is a genre appropriated from the tenohira no shosetsu 掌の小説 (palm-of-the-hand story) made famous by the Japanese Neo-Sensationist Kawabata Yasunari, who had learned it from the conte by the French modernist Paul Morand. The chapter demonstrates how a literary genre, having crossed the borders of nations from Europe to Asia, was used in China to ridicule the trend of scientism and modernist pursuits, while taking on aspects quite different from its original Japanese and French models. It explores how texts and ideas traveled in the Euro-Asian context during the 1920s and 1930s, and how certain values were lost during the transaction, while others were accrued during the process.

Keywords: Japanese anarchism; Kawabata Yasunari; literary genre; modern China; scientism; Shanghai Neo-Sensationist



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