5-2 | Developmental Fairy Tales: Evolutionary Thinking and Modern Chinese Culture

Book Review

Developmental Fairy Tales: Evolutionary Thinking and Modern Chinese Culture

Andrew F. Jones
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. Contents, notes, appendix, glossary of terms, index, images. 259 pp. $49.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780674047952

by Liang Luo

First Paragraph:

Andrew F. Jones’s fascinating and beautifully written book should be read by all those interested in childhood, toys, fairy tales, and the discourse of development and its vernacularization in specific cultural contexts. A specialist in modern Chinese culture, Jones’s earlier book, Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age, was a study of popular music and media culture in Shanghai during the first decades of the twentieth century (Jones 2001). In Developmental Fairly Tales, Jones again weaves together a study of Chinese modernity— this time using one of its most important intellectuals, Lu Xun. This book is as much a monograph on Lu Xun as it is a dynamic examination of his generation’s evolutionary thinking. An emphasis on the pedagogical function of culture in its vernacular forms—newspaper article, popular magazine, children’s premier, film, and fairy tale—supplies the intellectual link between Jones’s earlier work and the current book.