Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967) is one of the most controversial modern Chinese intellectuals and the brother of the writer Lu Xun. Zhou was radically at odds with many of his contemporaries and opposed the normative national subject of most May Fourth reformers. His work was banned in both mainland China and Taiwan for many years because of his collaboration with the Japanese puppet government during the Sino-Japanese War. Zhou's essays present an alternative vision of the nation, question the dichotomy between modernity and traditions, and espouse a literary style that values openness and individualism. The book has tilted the balance more in favour of the fractious kind than the typically affable and unworldly ones, and is thus a unique selection of Zhou's essays.