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Age of IrreverenceA New History of Laughter in China$
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Christopher Rea

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520283848

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520283848.001.0001

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Epilogue 笑死‎

Epilogue 笑死‎

Chapter:
(p.159) Epilogue 笑死‎
Source:
Age of Irreverence
Author(s):

Christopher Rea

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520283848.003.0007

Every form of laughter surveyed in this book survived, in some form, the succession of events that ended the 1930s heyday of humor. The declared war with Japan that began in 1937, the civil war that resumed in 1945, and the establishment of the Communist party-state in 1949 eclipsed some comic cultures and nurtured new ones. A crop of female writers known for their comic talents emerged during the war against Japan. Mao Zedong enshrined satire as an approved literary mode in the 1950s and condoned the use of abusive devil-invective in Communist political campaigns. The Reform and Opening period that began in the late 1970s and the internet age have both seen the renewal of comic styles popular in the early twentieth century. The humor polemics of the 1930s also echo in contemporary debates about the morality of laughter, including those involving Nobel Laureates Liu Xiaobo and Mo Yan. If recent trends are any indication, the early twentieth century was modern China’s first, but not last, age of irreverence.

Keywords:   New China, Communist China, eulogistic comedy, satire, e’gao, Mao Zedong, Liu Xiaobo, Mo Yan, Chinese internet culture

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