Title

A small history of wenyi

Document Type

Book chapter

Source Publication

The Oxford handbook of Chinese cinemas

Publication Date

1-1-2013

First Page

225

Last Page

249

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Abstract

The concept of wenyi played a key role in the distribution and promotion of films in the period from the second decade of the twentieth century to the early 1930s. Unlike the negative connotations of triviality, self-indulgence, even puerile pursuits that the term tends to carry today, wenyi at the time promised a sophisticated, worldly experience. This chapter maps the trajectory of wenyi, clarifies its importance, including its shifting meanings driven by literary and political forces and, more crucially, places it in a fluid cultural environment of literary enlightenment and social reform. Though wenyi as a construct has followed different paths since the 1960s, around 1930 it was a robust way to classify and describe cultural products and consumption. By revising wenyi’s history during the first decade of China’s full-fledged film production, we also find some of the exchanges between film and literature in this period.

DOI

10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199765607.013.0013

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2013 Oxford University Press

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9780199765607

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Yeh, E. Y.-y. (2013). A small history of wenyi. In C. Rojas & E. C.-Y. Chow (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of Chinese cinemas (pp. 225-249). Oxford: Oxford University Press.