The period in China's recent history between the death of Mao and the debacle of 1989 can be seen as a long decade, but also historically as a "lost" decade. It is "lost" in the sense that the political engagement of intellectuals and makers of culture was erased by China's official history makers; it is also "lost" in that its memory has been abandoned even by many who lived through it; "lost" also in the embarrassed silence of those who prefer to focus on the subsequent economic miracle of the 1990s that gave rise to today's more prosperous China; and "lost" as a time of opportunity for cultural and political change that ultimately did not happen. The relevance of the lost decade to China's living, if untold, history was once more made clear by the conferral of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Liu Xiaobo, a political activist since 1989, and by the awarding of the 2010 Neustadt literature prize to the poet Duoduo whose poetry and personal trajectory loom large in Gregory B. Lee's book.
Gregory B. Lee was educated in London and Peking. He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, London, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Lyon, and is currently chair professor of Chinese and transcultural studies at City University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist; Troubadours, Trumpeters, Troubled Makers: Lyricism, Nationalism and Hybridity in China and Its Others; and Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries of China and Chineseness.