BYU Asian Studies Journal


Katie Stirling


BYU Asian Studies, New Culture, May Fourth


According to Leo Ou-fan Lee, the city was, for Liu Na’ou, “the only world of [his] existence and the key source of [his] creative imagination” (191). Liu Na’ou stands among Shi Zhecun and Mu Shiying as writers preoccupied with the fast-paced life and materiality of the city of Shanghai in the 1930s. Considered to be one of the leaders of the Japanese-inspired neo-sensationist school in China, Liu pioneered the use of descriptions of sensory experiences and experimentations with time in narrative in order to create his cityscapes and develop the tension between fascination and repulsion with the city that characterizes neo-sensationist literature. This is highly evident in his short story, “Two Men Out of Tune with Time,” and although Liu is usually considered to have “depart[ed] radically from the May Fourth tradition” (Lee, 191) this story can be seen as an extension of certain May Fourth goals.