Revealing/Reveiling Shanghai

Cultural Representations from the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Edited by Lisa Bernstein & Chu-chueh Cheng

Subjects: Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies
Paperback : 9781438479248, 264 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438479255, 264 pages, August 2020

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Shanghai—Real and Imaginary
Lisa Bernstein and Chu-chueh Cheng

Part I: Old Shanghai Remembered and Imagined

1. Shanghai and the Birth of Chinese Nationalism: The May 30th Movement and the North-China Daily News
Graham J. Matthews

2. The Architectural Structure of Prewar Shanghai: Analysis of the Longtang Setting in Street Angel (1937)
Gabriel F. Y. Tsang

3. "City Lights" and the Dream of Shanghai
Mariagrazia Costantino

4. Wang Anyi's Song of Everlasting Sorrow: Memories of Shanghai as Commentary on Modern Society
Lisa Bernstein

Part II: Shanghai as Other

5. Japanese Accounts of Shanghai in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
Lianying Shan

6. Shanghai: City of Sin—City of Hope: Representations of Shanghai in Memoirs by Jewish Exiles and in Literary Texts about This Diaspora
Jennifer E. Michaels

7. J. G. Ballard's Shanghai: The Ur-Postmodern City
Grant Hamilton

8. Shanghai in The White Countess: Production and Consumption of an Oriental City through the Western Cinematic Gaze
Chu-chueh Cheng

Part III: Shanghai Reinvented for the New Millennium

9. The Shanghai Lady, 1880s–1990s: A Fictional Figure Adrift in the Maelstrom of Chinese Modernity
Andrew David Field

10. Constructed City, Constructed Self: Wei Hui's Shanghai Baby and the Unfixing of the Modern Self
Heather Patrick

11. "Only Shanghainese Can Understand": Popularity of Vernacular Performance and Shanghainese Identity
Fang Xu


Examines Shanghai both as a real city and an imaginary locale, from diverse cultural and disciplinary perspectives.


Revealing/Reveiling Shanghai provides international and interdisciplinary perspectives on representations of Shanghai, a contested location within political discourse and cultural imagination. Shanghai's complex history as a quasi-colonial city, and its contradictory identity as the birthplace of Communist China and the epitome of twenty-first-century capitalism, make it an especially fascinating subject. Contributors examine representations of Shanghai in film, art, literature, memoir, theater, and mass media from the past one hundred years. They address the ways in which texts from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have rewritten past and present Shanghai to reflect our own wishes and anguishes, show how the city resists static interpretations, and challenge notions of authentic representation and identity. By revealing and questioning persistent stereotypes and constructed versions of East and West, the essays offer diverse views so as to create a genuine exchange with contemporary global audiences. A wide variety of texts are discussed, including the films Street Angel (1937) and The White Countess (2005), and the novels The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (1996) and Shanghai Baby (1999).

Lisa Bernstein teaches literature and women's studies at the University of Maryland University College and is the editor of (M)Othering the Nation: Constructing and Resisting National Allegories through the Maternal Body. Chu-chueh Cheng is Professor of English at National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, and author of The Margin without Centre: Kazuo Ishiguro.


"This book makes a significant contribution to the fields of urban geography, cosmopolitanism, and diaspora, and is particularly timely for China studies. Its chapters on literary and cinematic representations of Shanghai are a valuable contribution to studies of Chinese cultural forms." — John Thieme, author of Postcolonial Literary Geographies: Out of Place