Michel Hockx: The Lost Books of Modern China


Location: Hesburgh Center Auditorium


THE LOST BOOKS OF MODERN CHINA: “Harmful Fiction” of the 1910s

Professor Michel Hockx will discuss the link between moral taboo, censorship, scholarly bias, and the preservation of Chinese books and magazines from the Republican period (1911-1949), through the case of the journal Meiyu 眉语 (Eyebrow Talk 1914-1916). Meiyu was marketed as a journal for and by women, and gained notoriety for its transgressive texts and images. In 1916, it was banned, and it took almost a century for it to be rediscovered and reprinted. The talk will also pay attention to the re-emergence of women-oriented erotic writing in contemporary Chinese online literature, as well as evaluate the extent to which transgressive writing by women has contributed to the formation of new literary practices in China.

Michel Hockx is a professor of Chinese at SOAS, University of London, where he is also the Director of the SOAS China Institute. Hockx studied Chinese language and literature at Leiden University in The Netherlands, and at Liaoning and Peking Universities in China. He has published widely on topics related to modern Chinese literary culture. His latest book, Internet Literature in China, was listed by Choice magazine as one of the Top 25 Outstanding Academic Titles of 2015.