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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Lu Xun was claimed and canonized as a Marxist by the Chinese Communist Party, while Japanese and Western critics frequently read his work as a critique of modernity. Whereas the latter approach tends to trace the continuity in his writings, the Marxist approach largely brackets his earlier work. This chapter attempts to bring Marxist theory in dialogue with Lu Xun’s work in a different way, by focusing on his early writings and reading them in relation to various theorists. Through a close reading of two of Lu Xun’s early essays, “On the Destruction of Malevolent Voices” and “Imbalanced Cultural Development,” this chapter examines debates within the Marxist tradition, especially about issues related to global capitalism and the possibilities of a socialist future in countries on the periphery of the world-system. In this way, Lu Xun and Marxist theory can illuminate one another.

Keywords: Lu Xun, Marxism, anti-modernism, world system theory

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