Li Jie

Li Jie
(né Lu Weimin)
b. 1955, Shanghai
Literary critic
Li Jie is one of the most original and fearless voices in contemporary criticism. Li Jie graduated with a BA in Chinese literature from Shanghai Normal University in 1982, and then studied under Qian Gurong, a famed scholar of modern Chinese literature and a strong advocate of ‘literary humanism’ (wenxue shi renxue) at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He received an MA from this university in 1987 and taught there until 1998, when he was dismissed for political reasons. Li Jie now resides in New York and works as an independent writer, editor and Chinese teacher.
In the 1980s, Li Jie was an untiring defender of avant-garde/experimental literature (xianfeng xiaoshuo). With passion and conviction, he wrote a series of influential essays touting its stylistic innovations as well as its uninhibited display of human desires. In the 1990s, Li Jie became a maverick cultural critic. His prolific writings were published in the five-volume set A Collection of Li Jie’s Writings on Thought and Culture (Li Jie sixiang wenhua wenji, 1998). This well-received collection shows Li Jie as a phenomenal thinker and critic, his razor-sharp pen traversing literature, history, aesthetics, philosophy, the cult of Mao, and ‘Redology’ (Hongxue: the study of the novel Dream of the Red Chamber), all the while exposing various myths and untruths that shackle the individual spirit. Li Jie is a rare combination of classical humanist and postmodern radical.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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