Printing for Pleasure: Chen Diexian’s Literary Enterprise and Popular Magazines in Early 20th Century China
The thesis focuses on the career and works of Chen Diexian as an entrepreneur and literatus. These works provide a focal point for reflection on the activities of popular writers, publishers, literary magazines, and the business of literature in early 20th Century China. The first chapter examines preceding studies of The Money Demon, as well as appreciative poems and prefaces, poem contests, and records of poets. As a more detailed supplement to Michael Hock’s theory of “style,” it shows how Chen Diexian used poems to form his personal relations and accumulate literary reputation. The second chapter is about the publisher China Library and the correspondence schools for classical literature. Appropriating the theory of “commodifying classical literature,” this chapter explores the development of this less known but important publisher, the designs of its four magazines, and the readership of “Butterfly” literature. The third chapter presents a close reading of The Money Demon that illuminates the marginalized status and identity crisis of the “Butterfly” writers. The thesis aims to uncover “hidden” organizations, literary and business activities, and texts in order to further our understanding of “Mandarin Duck and Butterfly Literature”.