Stateless Subjects: Chinese Martial Arts Literature and Postcolonial History (Cornell East Asia Series)

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9781933947624: Stateless Subjects: Chinese Martial Arts Literature and Postcolonial History (Cornell East Asia Series)

Known in the West primarily through poorly subtitled films, Chinese martial arts fiction is one of the most iconic and yet the most understudied form of modern sinophone creativity. Current scholarship on the subject is characterized by three central assumptions that I will argue against in this book: first, that martial arts fiction is the representation of a bodily spectacle that historically originated in Hong Kong cinema; second, that the genre came into being as an escapist fantasy that provided psychological comfort to people during the height of imperialism; and third, that martial arts fiction reflects a patriotic attitude that celebrates the greatness of Chinese culture, which in turn is variously described as the China-complex, colonial modernity, essentialized identity, diasporic consciousness, anxieties about globalization, or other psychological and ideological difficulties experienced by the Chinese people.

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