Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cat Country, a 1930s Chinese novel set on Mars

According to The Literature of China in the Twentieth Century (1999), by Bonnie S. McDougall and Kam Louie, a significant Chinese writer named Lao She wrote a novel titled Cat Country (Mao-ch'eng chi; can also be translated as The City of Cats) in 1933. Apparently, the "narrator finds himself marooned on Mars and is captured by its inhabitants, the Cat people, who are lazy, cowardly and self-centered. They drag him off to Cat Country, which is dirty, crowded and ridden with inequality. The novel’s chief target of attack is the education system, where students are automatically granted degrees. Intellectuals, political parties of both the right and the left, and members of the elite who take concubines and behave oppressively to women also face biting criticism. The satire in Cat Country is more bitter than funny, and Lao She was later harshly criticised for his comments on the political and social situation in China in the early 1930s.”

No comments: