Contemporary Chinese Thought 29 (2):45-54 (1997)
People who dislike the garishness of Wang Shuo all have their own explanations—Wang Shuo, as he says in his books, is a hoodlum who has switched to "stringing words together." He is a ruffian writing about ruffians, and the large numbers of ruffians in Chinese society who grew up on the rubble of the Cultural Revolution have provided him with a best-seller market and a basis for gaining popularity and wealth. Actually, this explanation avoids one phenomenon: Why do Wang Shuo's books exert such a large influence on intellectuals, and why is his ruffian-like language and literary style imitated by so many intellectuals?
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