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When the avant-garde writer Mu Shiying was assassinated in 1940, China lost one of its greatest modernist writers while Shanghai lost its most detailed chronicler of its demi-monde nightlife. As Andrew David Field argues, Mu Shiying advanced modern Chinese writing beyond the vernacular expression of May 4 giants Lu Xun and Lao She to even more starkly reveal the alienation of the cosmopolitan-capitalist city of Shanghai, trapped between the forces of civilization and barbarism. Each of these five short stories focuses on the author's key obsessions: the pleasurable yet anxiety-ridden social and sexual relationships of the modern city and the decadent maelstrom of consumption and leisure in Shanghai epitomized by the dance hall and the nightclub. This study places his writings squarely within the framework of Shanghai's social and cultural nightscapes.