Reviews 389 reviews Geremie R. Barmé. In the Red: On Contemporary Chinese Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. xxii, 512 pp. Hardcover $26.00, ISBN 0231106149. Paperback $22.50, ISBN 0231106157. Perhaps the most perceptive metaphor for the Chinese psyche emerging from the Maoist age comes in Feng Jicai's Sancun jinlian (1985; translated by David Wakefield as The Three-inch Golden Lotus [Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1994]). The analogy is with footbinding: just as feet that have been constricted and maimed cannot assume a natural form when their bindings are removed, so, Feng implies in his novel, spirits that have been distorted and warped by tyranny cannot spring back into shape merely because of instructions from above to emancipate the mind. Feng's metaphor of the pains of unbinding is instructive as we consider Geremie Barmé's brilliant and wide-ranging investigation of the politics of culture in the age of Deng Xiaoping. Rather than presenting a single narrative, In the Red offers a series of topical essays on urban (principally Beijing) culture to be read in parallel, with cross-references to related passages elsewhere in the text. The essays, many of which have already appeared in journals, are the fruit of the
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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