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The Edge of Knowing

Asian Studies affiliated faculty member Roy Bing Chan’s new book, “The Edge of Knowing,” explores the relationship between the rhetoric of dreams and realist literary practice in modern Chinese literature. Chan focuses this book from the May Fourth Era in the early 20th century through the period just following the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976.

Chan’s attention to dreams demonstrates the multiple influences of Western psychology, utopian desire for revolutionary change, and the enduring legacy of traditional Chinese philosophy. At the same time, modern Chinese writers used their work to represent social reality for the purpose of nation-building.

Recent political usage of dream rhetoric in the People’s Republic of China attests to the continuing influence of dreams on the imagination of Chinese modernity. By employing a number of critical perspectives, The Edge of Knowing seeks to understand the complicated relationship between literary form and Chinese history and politics.

Chan is Assistant Professor of Chinese Literature in East Asian Languages and Literatures, here at the University of Oregon.