Old Stories Retold
By Andrew Stuckey, assistant professor of Asian languages and civilizations
“Old Stories Retold” explores the ways modern Chinese narratives dramatize and embody the historical sense that links them to the past and to the Chinese literary tradition. Largely guided by Walter Benjamin’s discussions of history, G. Andrew Stuckey looks at the ways Chinese narrative engages a historical process that pieces together fragments of the past into new configurations to better serve present needs.
By examining intertextual connections between separate texts, Stuckey seeks to discover traces of an “original,” whether it be thought of as the past, history, or tradition, when it has been rewritten in modern and contemporary Chinese fiction.
“Old Stories Retold” shows how the articulation of the past into new historical configurations disrupts accepted understandings of the past, and as such, can be intentionally pitted against modernist historical knowledge to resist the modernist ends that this knowledge is mobilized to achieve.
“G. Andrew Stuckey has done magnificent work in rethinking the meaning and function of writing, memory and history. In ‘Old Stories Retold’ he looks into sources drawn from both modern and premodern Chinese writings and teases out the radical elements in the contemporary debate about cultural identities, historical authenticities, and literary imaginaries. His book is an important source for anyone interested in Chinese and comparative literary and cultural studies.”
—David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University
“This book represents an entirely new look at the writing produced in China following the cultural upheavals of the late 1910s. It questions the very basis on which most prior studies have been based, namely the idea that the ‘new literature’ that began to be written in China after c. 1919 represents a total and iconoclastic break with the Chinese literary tradition. Through precise and insightful readings of a number of modern classics, G. Andrew Stuckey shows persuasively how motifs and literary forms from the past continually intrude upon all attempts at iconoclasm. This elegantly written and carefully argued piece of scholarship will be an enduring contribution to the study of Chinese literature.”
— Theodore Huters, UCLA