Merry Laughter and Angry Curses: The Shanghai Tabloid Press, 1897-1911 by Juan WangMerry Laughter and Angry Curses: The Shanghai Tabloid Press, 1897-1911 by Juan Wang

Merry Laughter and Angry Curses: The Shanghai Tabloid Press, 1897-1911

byJuan Wang

Paperback | July 1, 2013

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The end of the Qing dynasty in China saw an unprecedented explosion of print journalism. Chinese-owned newspapers, first encouraged by Emperor Guangxu to inform and educate an increasingly literate public, had by the turn of the century become more powerful than the state had ever anticipated or desired. Yet it was not the dabao, or “important” papers, that proved most influential. Rather it was the xiaobao, the “little” or “minor” papers – with their reputation for frivolity – that captivated and empowered the public.

Merry Laughter and Angry Curses reveals how the late-Qing-era tabloid press became the voice of the people. As periodical publishing reached a fever pitch, tabloids had free rein to criticize officials, mock the elite, and scandalize readers, giving the public knowledge about previously unspeakable and unprintable ideas. In the name of the people, tabloid writers produced a massive amount of anti-establishment literature, whose distinctive humour and satirical style were both potent and popular. This book shows the tabloid community to be both a producer of meanings and a participant in the social and cultural dialogue that would shake the foundations of imperial China and lead to the 1911 Republican Revolution.

Juan Wang is an independent scholar of Chinese history.Juan Wang is an independent scholar of Chinese history.
Title:Merry Laughter and Angry Curses: The Shanghai Tabloid Press, 1897-1911Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.65 inPublished:July 1, 2013Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774823399

ISBN - 13:9780774823395

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Table of Contents


1 Community of Fun

2 Officialdom Unmasked

3 Imagining the Nation

4 Confronting the “New”

5 Questioning the Appropriators

6 The Market, Populism, and Aesthetics



Glossary of Chinese Terms and Names



Editorial Reviews

Illuminating and endlessly entertaining. Juan Wang does a marvelous job of showing how the tabloids that burst on the scene in Shanghai at the turn of the last century influenced the main political and historical developments of the late Qing. With a stylistic repertoire that included irony, mockery, gossip, sarcasm, and biting humor, these trendy publications, she argues convincingly, did much to prepare the way, intellectually and psychologically, for the demise of the dynasty. - Paul A. Cohen, author of Speaking to History: The Story of King Goujian in Twentieth-Century China