Pericoronial Writing from China and the Diaspora

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Contemporary Chinese Art
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Jul 2021
Issue number3
Original languageEnglish


This article analyses what Margaret Atwood calls the literature of ‘ustopia’. The portmanteau term brings together the utopia and dystopia categories because Atwood argues that one contains the germ of the other. Ustopian writing is a body of work that is helpful when it comes to understanding current destruction to lives and livelihoods, and imagining our post-coronavirus future. The present essay thus explores four works of ustopian writing from China and the diaspora, three of them written before the current Covid-19 crisis but all shedding light on it. Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary (2020) represents the first real work of postcoronial literature in what seems likely to be an outpouring over the coming years. It is anticipated very ably by the precoronial texts also analysed here – Mo Yan’s Frog (2009), Ma Jian’s China Dream (2018) and Ling Ma’s Severance (2018) – which presage the post-COVID dispensation.

    Research areas

  • Chinese literature, dystopian fiction, public health, COVID-19 pandemic, Mo Yan, Ma Jian, Ling Ma, Fang Fang

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