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A panoramic literary anthology that explores the inner story of China in the twentieth century.
This revelatory volume brings together significant works in translations from nearly fifty Chinese writers. It includes poems, essays, fiction, songs and speeches written in an astonishing array of moods and styles, from sublime lyricism to witty surrealism, poignant documentary to the ironic, the absurd, the transgressive and the defiant.
Yunte Huang provides essential context in an opening essay and in headnotes, timelines and brief introductions to the Republican, Revolutionary and Post-Mao eras. Both personal and authoritative, his selections make for a joyously informative read. From belles lettres to literary propaganda, from poetic revolution to pulp fiction, The Big Red Book is an eye-opening portrait of China in the tumultuous twentieth century.
“Huang is previously the author of a witty and stylish book about Charlie Chan which drew on a variety of artforms – from doggerel verses to B-movies – to reflect on the representation of China in the West. The Big Red Book, which benefits from translations by a Who’s Who of talent, is similarly wide-ranging. And while Huang’s prose choices are relatively conventional, his selections of poems and sketches of their authors are engagingly idiosyncratic.” — The Times Literary Supplement
“[A] worthwhile anthology... that manages to combine the established canon with less-well-known selections... [Its] breadth and variety…will, one hopes, encourage new readers to explore more Chinese literature in full translations.” — The New York Times Book Review