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“A Tale of New Mr. Braggadocio”: Narrative Subjectivity and Brain Electricity in Late Qing Science Fiction

Shaoling Ma
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 40, No. 1, Chinese Science Fiction (March 2013), pp. 55-72
Published by: SF-TH Inc
DOI: 10.5621/sciefictstud.40.1.0055
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5621/sciefictstud.40.1.0055
Page Count: 18
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“A Tale of New Mr. Braggadocio”: Narrative Subjectivity and Brain Electricity in Late Qing Science Fiction
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Abstract

This article examines the relation between self and society in Xu Nianci's “Xin faluoxiansheng tan” [A Tale of New Mr. Braggadocio, 1905]. It argues that the short story's experiment with first-person subjectivity and the narrator's invention of brain electricity collapses the disjuncture between individual self and society, as well as the divide between labor and capital that lies at the heart of Marx's insight into the social relations of production. Specifically, brain electricity reimagines the distinction between humans and machines and reevaluates the means and relations of production; in doing so, it provides a study of political economy rare in late Qing Chinese fiction.

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