Reviews 341 cance of the mediasphere? Unfortunately, the concept of mediasphere, which gives the study its name, also remains somewhat vague. Discussion of its importance even disappears largely from chapters 5 to 7, only to reappear suddenly in the epilogue. While Des Forges's discussion of the mediasphere in the early chapters is compelling, he does not elaborate on the degree to which this concept is essential to our study of modern Chinese literature, or to the study of other Chinese or East Asian cities. Nevertheless, Des Forges's study convinces in both its breath and its detail. His reading of especially the lesser-known works of late Qing Shanghai fiction is not only highly insightful, it also fills a gap that recent scholarship on late imperial fiction has left open. Furthermore, his attempt at reading Shanghai fiction of both the late Imperial and the Republican period as springing from similar aesthetics concerns is intriguing as it questions the demarcation between new fiction (xin wenxue) and what used to be stigmatized by May Fourth critics and their heirs as old fiction (jiu wenxue). Mediasphere Shanghai is a well-researched and original addition to the growing canon of cultural and literary studies on
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 6, 2009
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