Trauma and Truth: Representations of Madness in Chinese Literature

Birgit LINDER*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With only a few exceptions, the literary theme of madness has long been a domain of Western cultural studies. Much of Western writing represents madness as an inquiry into the deepest recesses of the mind, while the comparatively scarce Chinese tradition is generally defined by madness as a voice of social truth. This paper looks at five works of twentieth-century Chinese fiction that draw on socio-somatic aspects of madness to reflect upon social truths, suggesting that the inner voice of subjectivity is perhaps not the only true voice of the self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese literature
  • Madness
  • Social insight
  • Trauma fiction


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