“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

A Modern Miscellany Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926-1938

Posted: August 6th, 2018 | No Comments »

I owe a great debt to academics and Sinologists – my last couple of books wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarly work of a variety of people including Frederic Wakeman, Robert Bickers, Jonathan Spence, Andrew Field and a host of others…I do try to acknowledge them where possible and (unlike Hilary Mantel!) believe that admitting your debt to academia is important. Now add Paul Bevan to the list…and his new A Modern Miscellany – a fantastic new book on old Shanghai….sadly it’s not cheap so you’ll probably need to be a member of a good library, or recommend your university library to buy….

In A Modern Miscellany: Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926-1938 Paul Bevan explores how the cartoon (manhua) emerged from its place in the Chinese modern art world to become a propaganda tool in the hands of left-wing artists. The artists involved in what was largely a transcultural phenomenon were an eclectic group working in the areas of fashion and commercial art and design. The book demonstrates that during the build up to all-out war the cartoon was not only important in the sphere of Shanghai popular culture in the eyes of the publishers and readers of pictorial magazines but that it occupied a central place in the primary discourse of Chinese modern art history.

 

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