Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

狼图腾 (lit. Wolf Totem)

Novel by Jiang Rong.

Wolf Totem is ostensibly the story of a sent-down youth who lives in Inner Mongolia and learns about life from the wolves that inhabit the area. It's also a vehicle for Jiang Rong's theories about Chinese civilization and culture – why it has grown weak, what once made it strong, and how it could regain that strength. Chinese emperors have traditionally ruled by weakening the will and spirit of their people, he says, and over thousands of years this has essentially ruined the Chinese character. It's not an overtly political book, but its theories constitute a fierce attack on the principles by which Chinese governments, including the present one, rule.


Wolf Totem

Translated by Howard Goldblatt, March, 2008


Wolf Totem Penguin March 2008 UK

Original Publications:

狼图腾 2004, April (Mainland China)