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Bedford, Nigel St. John (1986) Zhang Tianyi: Critical analysis of his development as a writer of fiction. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Born in 1906 in Nanjing, Zhang began writing in his teens for "Mandarin Duck and Butterfly" magazines in Shanghai. After 1929, he wrote short stories, middle-length stories, novels and two plays, all in a realistic style. The eighty-odd short stories Zhang wrote between 1929 and 1938 provided the basis for his reputation as a writer of fiction in the pre-liberation period. After 1938, Zhang concentrated on writing literary criticism and theory and after contracting tuberculosis in 1942 he all but stopped writing. Upon the establishment of the Communist republic in 1949 Zhang was assigned to several posts in the literary leadership and wrote a few didactic works for children as well as theoretical and critical articles. He wrote nothing of note after 1960 and his health deteriorated after suffering a stroke in 1975. Zhang died on 28 April, 1985, This thesis considers Zhang's development as a writer of fiction, concentrating attention on the period 1929 to 1938 when Zhang produced his most noteworthy works, but also analysing the place in his career of the recently rediscovered stories written between 1922 and 1928. Zhang's critical and theoretical writings are considered for what they reveal of his literary ideals and are considered as an index to Zhang's success as a writer of fiction. Zhang's development as a writer of fiction is considered chronologically and contemporary political, historical, social and literary influences are alluded to whenever pertinent. Zhang's short stories are also measured against the yardstick of Western practice in the writing of short stories and conventional and unconventional uses of the genre by Zhang are pointed out. Appendices contain a biographical entry about Zhang written in the light of recently published material about Zhang's life and interviews with his family and friends; together with translations of several previously untranslated stories by Zhang.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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