web literature


web literature
There are three types of web literature (wangluo wenxue) in China: the first are Internet sites with downloadable pre-modern and modern literature; the second type are Internet magazines that offer literature edited for ‘publication’ on the Internet, most notable among them Olive Tree; the third category consists of so-called ‘pure web literature’ (wangluo yuanchuan wenxue) that includes unedited items from personal web pages, emails and chat rooms and is intended for Internet use only.
The third type is by far the most inexhaustible phenomenon and has a wide readership. It first developed through overseas Chinese students. In 1998, Taiwanese student Cai Zhiheng wrote an influential short story called ‘First Intimate Encounter’ (Di yici de qinmi jiechu) which introduced ‘net language’ (wangluo yuyan) to describe Internet life. Influenced by Cai, Li Xunhuan became the prize-winning vanguard of web literature on the mainland in 1998.
Since then, web literature has flooded the Chinese Internet, not only on specific websites but also through main Internet portals such as ‘Xinlang’ (New Wave) and ‘Wangyi’ (Netease). By 2000, web literature surpassed 10,000 volumes of published articles of printed matter. Although most of the writing is short-lived and anonymous and the quality of writing is extremely uneven, it is popular for its immediacy, subjectivity, equality and accessibility. In 2001, at least 87 per cent of readers were under thirty years of age, and to them web literature has become an inexpensive and relatively safe venue for self-expression, spontaneity and exchange.
Hockx, Michel (2004). ‘Links with the Past: Mainland China’s Online Literary Communities and their Antecedents’. Journal of Contemporary China 13.8 (February): 105–27.
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Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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