Contesting Space in Semi-colonial Shanghai: The Relationship between Shanghai’s Modernist Poetry and the City


  • Chung-to AU The Hong Kong Institute of Education



Shanghai’s modernist poetry movement, Western modernist poetry, built environment of Semi-colonial city, literary space, Hardoon Garden


The introduction of urban study and colonial/postcolonial theories to modernist research in the 1980s has helped us to have another look at the nature of cities. Although a lot of studies have been conducted on Shanghai’s modernist poetry, the notion of a colonial or semi-colonial city, in Shanghai’s case, is seldom addressed. This article will focus on the disparity between the built environment and the literary space created in Shanghai’s modernist poetry. This study discusses whether Shanghai’s modernist poetry is a literary product or a product of its environment by examining the poems of Chen Jingrong, Tang Shi, Hang Yuehe and Tang Qi.





Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Chung-to AU, The Hong Kong Institute of Education

    Department of Literature and Cultural Studies

    Assistant Professor


Au, Chung-to. 2008. Modernist Aesthetics in Taiwanese Poetry since the 1950s. Leiden: Brill.

Benjamin, Walter. 2005 (1983). Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. Translation by Harry Zohn. London: Verso.

Chang, Eileen. 2005. Written on Water. Translation by Andrew F. Jones; co-edited with an Introduction by Nicole Huang. New York: Columbia University Press.

Dong, Meleine Yue. 2006. “Shanghai’s China Traveller.” In Everyday Modernity in China, edited by Meleine Yue Dong and Joshua Goldstein, 195–226. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Eliot, T. S. 1980. The Complete Poems and Plays: 1909–1950. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co.

Ferguson, Priscilla Parkhurst. 1994. “The flaneur on and off the streets of Paris” in The Flâneur, edited by Keith Tester, 22–42. London: Routledge.

Ferguson, Margaret et al., ed. 1996. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. New York: Norton & Company, Inc.
Hernandez, Felipe. 2010. Bhabha for Architects. London: Routledge.

Li, Jin. 2000. Hai Pai xiao shuo yu xian dai du Shi wen hua 海派小說與現代都市文化 (Hai Pai Literature and the Culture of Urbanism). Hefeishi: Anhui Jiaoyu Chubanshe.

Liang, Samuel Y. 2010. Mapping Modernity in Shanghai: Space, Gender, and Visual Culture in the Sojourners’ City, 1853–98. London: Routledge.

Mehrotra, R. 2010. “Foreword.” In Rethinking the Informal City: Critical Perspectives from Latin America, edited by F. Hernandez, P. Kellett and L. Allen, xi–xiv. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books.

Murphey, Rhoads. 1953. Shanghai: Key to Modern China. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Wang, Sengsi 王聖思. 1994. Jiu Ye zhi shu chang qing: Jiu Ye shi ren zuopin xuan 九葉之樹長青—“九葉詩人”作品選 (The Selected Poems of Jiu Ye Poets). Shanghai: Huong Shifan Daxue Chubanshe.

Wang, Wenying. 1999. Shang hai xian dai wen xue shi 上海現代文學史 (Modern Literary History in Shanghai). Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin.

Wu, Jiang 伍江. 2008. Shanghai bainian jianzhu shi 上海百年建築史 (A History of Shanghai Architecture 1840–1949). Shanghai: Tongji University Press.

Yeoh, B. S. A. 1996. Contesting Space: Power Relations in the Urban Built Environment in Colonial Singapore. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yue, Meng. 2006. Shanghai and the Edges of Empire. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.



29. 11. 2013

How to Cite

AU, Chung-to. 2013. “Contesting Space in Semi-Colonial Shanghai: The Relationship Between Shanghai’s Modernist Poetry and the City”. Asian Studies 1 (2): 107-23.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 158

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.