September 2, 2015 – This summer, NYU Shanghai Assistant Professor Lena Scheen published Shanghai Literary Imaginings: A City in Transformation (Amsterdam University Press) --a book that analyzes the transformation of Shanghai through the eyes of its local writers.
“I became fascinated by the scale and speed of Shanghai’s urban transformation since the early 1990s,” Scheen explains. “How do people deal with the fact that their physical surrounding is changing so fast, without having any control over it? By looking at fiction written by Shanghai authors living in the city during its transformation, stories that have the city as their main setting, I hoped to gain a better understanding of the mental impact of such a disruptive change.”
Shanghai Literary Imaginings is based on years of fieldwork in Shanghai, interviewing a dozen of Shanghai writers, such as Wang Anyi, Mian Mian and Jin Yucheng, along with literary scholars. The book “offers significant new insights into contemporary Chinese urban culture from a highly innovative methodological perspective” (Michel Hockx, SOAS, University of London) and is “essential reading on turn-of-the-millennium Shanghai literary culture” (Robin Visser, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) as we can read on its back cover.
Scheen is working on her next book about the history of Pudong.