Cover of Illuminations from the Past by Ban Wang
Illuminations from the Past
Trauma, Memory, and History in Modern China
Ban Wang


328 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804749466
Paperback ISBN: 9780804750998


Excerpts and More

This book offers a cultural history of modern China by looking at the tension between memory and history. Mainstream books on China tend to focus on the hard aspects of economics, government, politics, or international relations. This book takes a humanistic look at modern changes and examines how Chinese intellectuals and artists experienced trauma, social upheavals, and transformations. Drawing on a wide array of sources in political and aesthetic writings, literature, film, and public discourse, the author has portrayed the unique ways the Chinese imagine and portray their own historical destiny in the midst of trauma, catastrophe, and runaway globalization.

About the author

Ban Wang is Associate Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Sublime Figure of History (Stanford, 1997)

"The new essays are notable for wide-ranging, thought-provoking reflections on modern Chinese history that are prompted by the author's own experiences, as well as for his courage in confronting a past that is a source of trauma as much as of hope."

The China Journal

"Written in a serious, sophisticated manner, this book successfully portrays the vicissitude of historical consciousness in modern China, focusing on literary writings."