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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ah Q, the eponymous protagonist of Lu Xun’s novella The True Story of Ah Q, is famous for his “spiritual victory method”—his ability to transform apparent defeat and humiliation into a symbolic victory by renarrativizing the event in question in a way that is more favorable to him. A form of Nietzschean ressentiment, this strategy seeks to transform objective weakness into a form of symbolic strength, but in a way that often appears patently absurd to everyone but Ah Q himself. To the extent that Ah Q’s trademark gesture represents an attempt to transform failure into a symbolic victory, however, this chapter is interested in moments in the text where Ah Q’s symbolic victories are themselves short-circuited by failure.

Keywords: Lu Xun, The True Story of Ah Q, revolution, repetition

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