Revolutionary Literature in China: An Anthology

By John David Berninghausen; Ted Huters | Go to book overview

Revolution and Literature

By Guo Mo-ruo translated by, Lars Ellström

Our time is a revolutionary epoch, and we are people preoccupied with literary work. How the literature we create relates to the epoch we live in, what demands this epoch makes upon us, what attitude we adopt to this epoch; these questions I intend to discuss here.

Let us first discuss the relation between revolution and literature.

We can immediately imagine that to put revolution and literature in the same category will be met by two diametrically opposite opinions.

Some people say: revolution and literature are as incompatible as ice and burning charcoal; they simply cannot be linked together. Those who advocate this opinion can furthermore be divided into two factions: the one faction consists of the so-called literary men, the other faction consists of the so-called revolutionaries.

The so-called literary men, especially our Chinese so-called literary men, are a different kind of human beings who live in a different kind of world. They live poetically with their heads in the clouds, and they never ask a thing about mundane affairs. When tranquility descends upon the world, they might possibly sing praises for a while unto its peacefulness, but as soon as revolution approaches their lives are immediately threatened. Though they had been rather indifferent to the revolution and were able to adopt a kind of condescending attitude to it, they now, on the contrary, must suddenly begin to curse it with all their might. We can see examples of this behavior everywhere, whether the writers under consideration are traditional ones or modern ones. In their opinion literature and revolution can never stand together.

____________________
Above: L. to R., Guo Mo-ruo, Yu Da-fu, Cheng Fang-wu

-28-

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