The Collapse of Heaven investigates a long-neglected century in Chinese literature through the lens of the Taiping War (1851–1864), one of the most devastating civil wars in human history. With the war as the pivot, Huan Jin examines the manifold literary and cultural transformations that occurred from the 1850s to the 1880s. The book analyzes a wide range of writings—proselytizing pamphlets, diaries, poetry, a full-length novel, drama, and short stories—with a particular emphasis on the materiality of these texts as well as their production and dissemination. Tracing allusions to political turbulences across many genres, Jin discusses how late imperial Chinese literary and cultural paradigms began to unravel under conditions of extreme violence and tracks the unexpected reinventions of literary conventions that marked the beginning of Chinese literary modernity. In addition to making a significant contribution to Chinese studies, this book offers an important comparative perspective on the global nineteenth century and engages with broad scholarly discussions on religion, violence, narrative, history, gender, theater, and media studies.
- 360 pages
- 6 x 9 inches
- Harvard University Asia Center
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