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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese
Title of proceedings Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese


The Analects ghost stories special issues offer interesting insight into different approaches towards the spectral and show that despite the heated political climate on the eve of the Second Sino-Japanese war (1937) ghosts were not only a historical subject matter, but often appeared within discourses of crisis. The majority of texts view ghosts either as objects of ethnographic and/or historic inquiry or make figurative use of ghosts as satire of contemporary evils such as opium addiction, prostitution and the Japanese military threat. The second group are biographical narratives, in which China's “coming of age” as a nation is framed here as a process of personal bildung within the temporal framework of a global and homogenous time. While the editor Shao Xunmei refers to these figurative appropriations of the spectral as “living ghosts”, he juxtaposes this to the concept of “real ghosts” that understands ghosts and haunting as figures of intellectual freedom and social justice.