Letty Chen publishes new book, "The Great Leap Backward"

Lingchei Letty Chen’s new book, “The Great Leap Backward: Forgetting and Representing the Mao Years,” has been published by Cambria Press.


Inspired by Holocaust studies, Lingchei Letty Chen's new book, The Great Leap Backward, is an unprecedented analysis of collective cultural memory of the trauma created by Mao’s regime.

Chen, associate professor of modern Chinese language and literature, discusses fiction, memoirs, autobiographies, and documentary films from the period spanning the 1950s to the present day. “The Great Leap Backward” also provides an important bridge between the theoretical work underpinning Holocaust studies and the specific cultural context of modern China.

“We must excavate memories and decipher secreted testimonies from available literature,” Chen writes, “if we are to fully understand the collective traumatic effect of the Mao regime.” Such excavation is important for understanding the “testimonies made outside officially sanctioned parameters.”

For more information about Chen’s new book, visit the Cambria Press website