In 1924 a half-Taiwanese, half-Japanese man travelled from Japan to Shanghai to study French at the Jesuit Université L'Aurore. He was young, flamboyant, and rich, and eventually used his own personal funds to found two bookstores and three journals in Shanghai. Despite his ambiguous national identity and lack of formal Chinese education, he also became the founder of a Chinese modernist literary movement called new sensationism (xinganjue pai), earned substantial notoriety, and attracted a host of followers. Murdered by an unidentified assassin in 1939, in his shorr life Liu Na'ou (1900–39) mirrored the literary movement that he created and that died with him. But this was not before he had published an intriguing collection of short stories entitled Scène (his own French title, 1930a), which was in some measure to define what urban writing meant for Chinese writers in Shanghai during the Nanjing decade (1927–37), as the quotation above suggests.

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