journalistic literature


journalistic literature
(Jishi wenxue)
Journalistic literature is a literary genre that first appeared in popular magazines and literary journals in the late 1970s. The genre is close to, but differentiated from, ‘reportage’ (baogao wenxue). On the one hand, works in this genre are, or are supposed to be, based on journalistic investigation, especially interviews and research, but, on the other, their authors do not always use the true names of real people and are less bound by the facts. In other words, the genre actually allows more fictional description and the use of other literary devices than baogao wenxue. Although the term jishi wenxue literally means ‘fact-recording literature’, much writing in this genre cannot be taken as a true record.
Even in the case of writings about historical figures identified by their real names, one has to be sceptical about the reliability of the stories being presented, because such writings typically do not provide sources. A wide range of topics is covered in jishi wenxue, including crime, official corruption, sexual culture, the floating population, unemployment, historical events, and the private lives of celebrities. The genre is popular with both authors and readers because it allows social and historical commentary in addition to popular tabloid entertainment. As the genre is as sensitive to public issues as it is commercially motivated, the emergence and popularity of the genre reflects a broadening of ways in which social commentaries are made possible in post-Mao China, as well as the pervasive trend towards commercialization of literary and intellectual endeavour.
Zhao, Yuezhi (2002). ‘The Rich, the Laid Off, and the Criminal in Tabloid Tales: Read All About It’. In Perry Link, Richard P.Madsen and Paul G.Pickowicz (eds), Popular China: Unofficial Culture in a Globalizing Society. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 111–36.
XU XIAOQUN

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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