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Chinese Studies: Modern Literature & Film

A guide to resources for the study of China


This page is a work in progress. Expect additional material to be added regularly. If you have a suggestion on content that should be added to this site or of you need help finding resources for your research project, please contact the Asian Studies Librarian, Tim Davis (4523 HBLL)

Modern Literature & Drama

Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature (2010) eBook.

Print version also available: PL 2303 .Y59 2010 (5th floor, Humanities Reference)

Historical Dictionary of Chinese Theatre, 2nd ed. (2012) eBook.

Print version also available: PN 2871 .Y46 2008 (5th floor, Humanities Reference)

Historical Dictionary of Chinese Cinema (2012) eBook.

Print version also available: PN 1993.5 .C4 Y43 2012 (5th floor, Humanities Reference)

Digital Resources

Film and Literature Magazines from the Internet Archive

電影日報 (Dianying ribao) Film Daily 1940–1941; 400+ issues

電影時報 (Dianying shibao) Film Times 1932–1933; 200+ issues

上海影壇 (Shanghai yingtan) Shanghai Cinema 1943–1945; 20 issues

獨立評論 (Duli pinglun) The Independent Critic 1932–1937; 243 issues, Edited by Hu Shi.

文學 (Wenxue) Literature, 1933–1937

新青年 (Xin qingnian) New Youth (La Jeunesse) 1915–1926; 60+ issues

星期 (Xingqi) The Sunday 1922–1923 edited by Bao Tianxiao, associated with the “Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies” genre; 48 issues

Chinese Film Classics Project Includes bibliographies, lectures, and other resources, including links to twenty full-length films available to watch on Youtube

Eileen Chang 張愛玲 (1920–1995) "In a Bronze Mirror: Eileen Chang's Life and Literature" (University of Southern California). Curated by USC students, this online exhibition features items from Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang) Papers in the USC Digital Library and the Eileen Chang Collection at the University of Hong Kong's University Archives. It is organized by Jenny Lin (Associate Professor of Critical Studies, USC Roski School of Art and Design) and Tang Li (Chinese Studies Librarian, USC Libraries) in association with the virtual conference titled "Love, Lust, Caution: A Centennial Celebration of the Cross-Cultural Legacies of Eileen Chang" hosted by USC on November 20, 2020.

Paper Republic

A useful website for staying up to date on developments in modern Chinese fiction and translation.

Xu Dishan Collection (Australia National University)


The West: A Translation by Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal

In 2019, Paisley Rekdal was commissioned to write a poem commemorating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion. The result is “West: A Translation:” a linked collection of poems that respond to a Chinese elegy carved into the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station where Chinese migrants to the United States were detained. “West” translates this elegy character by character through the lens of Chinese and other transcontinental railroad workers’ histories, and through the railroad’s cultural impact on America.

Lyrik Line

Lyrik Line is an international website for experiencing the diversity of contemporary poetry. Here you can listen to the melodies, sounds, and rhythms of international poetry, recited by the authors themselves, and read the poems both in their original languages and various translations. Upon navigating to the website, use the drop down menus to search for "Chinese" poetry.

Unofficial Poetry Journals from China

Leiden University Libraries has made several unofficial poetry journals from China accessible online. [Once you click the link, click on the "Show all items" box to view individual issues.] Collected by Professor Maghiel van Crevel, the issues available come from privately published and difficult to find journals ranging from the legendary and solemn Today 今天 to the equally legendary, yet down-to-earth Them ; from the feminist Wings  to The Lower Body 下半身, a macho posse (albeit with a healthy dose of self-mockery); and from the polemical and headstrong Not Not 非非 (Sichuan) to Poetry and People 人 (Guangdong), which welcomes the full gamut of poetics styles and perspectives.

These unofficial publications go back to an underground circuit during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when overground culture was little more than an instrument of political ideology. In the late seventies, this writing came out into the open. This led to an explosion of innovation and experiment that quickly outshone state-sponsored literature, especially among younger readers. Just about every Chinese poet who matters today first published in the unofficial circuit. Unofficial poetry journals are a fascinating area of research in the study of Chinese and comparative literature, from textual analysis to issues in the sociology of culture.

Modern Chinese Literature