In the first half of the twentieth century, urban Chinese regularly lost themselves in tales of scandalous affairs, tender romances, and splendid acts of martial gallantry - standard reading fare on Saturdays among city dwellers craving entertainment and escape. Openly disdained by many intellectuals for their frothy content and maudlin appeal, these tales have been largely ignored in histories and anthologies of modern Chinese fiction both in China and the West. Recently, however, increasing attention has been paid to this fiction and its place in the vibrant tradition of Chinese writing during a period of rapid cultural change. The stories selected and translated here invited Chinese readers to enter worlds at once connected to and removed from their familiar surroundings. Today, the stories have become a record of what urban life was actually like, as well as what readers then wished it to be. Like Chinese from decades past indulging in a pleasurable hour or two on a Saturday afternoon, readers of English can now enjoy and learn from these diverse stories, expertly translated.
The volume's afterword provides valuable insights into this long-overlooked area of modern Chinese literature.