Read e-book online Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media PDF

By Christopher Bush

ISBN-10: 0195393821

ISBN-13: 9780195393828

Ideographic Modernism offers a severe account of the ideograph (Chinese writing as imagined within the West) as a modernist invention. instead of targeting the accuracy of this ideograph as a type of illustration of China (a concentration that might yield predictable results), Christopher Bush reconstructs the explicit historical past of the ideograph with the intention to discover the query of illustration in additional primary methods, ways in which mirror the variety and complexity of literary modernism itself. On one point, the e-book makes a controversy concerning the that means and serve as of the ideograph through the modernist interval, specifically that this imagined chinese language writing was once a fancy reaction to a few of the writings of such technological media because the photo, the phonograph, the cinematograph, and the telegraph. via analyses of works by means of Claudel, Pound, Kafka, Benjamin, Segalen, and Valéry, between others, Ideographic Modernism strains the interweaving of Western modernity's ethnographic and technological imaginaries, during which the cultural results of technological media assumed ''Chinese'' kinds, at the same time conventional representations of ''the Orient'' lived on in modernist-era responses to media. On one other point, the e-book makes a methodological argument, demonstrating new methods of recuperating the commonly missed presence of China within the textual content of Western modernism. as well as being its material, then, ideographic modernism can also be the book's strategy: a polemically ''literal'' method of examining that demands reevaluations either one of how modernist literature with regards to its ancient contexts and of the ways that we will be able to remember the fact that dating this present day.

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Extra resources for Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media

Example text

Thus, in old Chinese landscape paintings the trees, ponds, and mountains are rendered only as sparse ornamental signs drawn in ink” (Kracauer, 83). introduction 21 divide made the ideograph and its accompanying imaginary available for use in modernism’s struggle to write of the simultaneously semiotic and cultural transformations of language in the age of technological media. Accordingly, I will consider these modern technological media not as the factual context within which an imagined ideographic writing and an imagined China are to be situated, but rather as elements of a contemporary and related imaginary.

We must reckon with a potentially wide range of textual formations and semiotic structures or processes, each calling for its own ways of reading. This is not to be theoretical rather than historical, but simply to recognize that “history” comes to us in many forms and that our ways of recovering that history must therefore be multiple as well. I offer “strong” readings of my texts not in order to wrest them away from historical context per se, but to wrest them from what I consider to be inaccurately or inadequately reassembled historical contexts.

Modernism’s China indeed often repeats earlier representations of China that can fairly be called “Orientalist” in a straightforwardly pejorative sense. That being said, this book is only in a minimal sense about the falsity of Western views of China: the point is not to say that the modernists got China wrong. Very often they did, of course. But the West’s relationship to and interest in China during the modernist period was far more extensive and real than is generally credited; this relationship needs to be understood in terms more open and more complex than a reduction of the entire subject to an up or down vote on correctness or incorrectness.

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Ideographic Modernism: China, Writing, Media by Christopher Bush


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