Embracing the Lie: Ding Ling and the Politics of Literature in the People's Republic of China

Embracing the Lie: Ding Ling and the Politics of Literature in the People's Republic of China

Embracing the Lie: Ding Ling and the Politics of Literature in the People's Republic of China

Embracing the Lie: Ding Ling and the Politics of Literature in the People's Republic of China

Synopsis

This volume is the companion to Charles J. Alber's Enduring the Revolution: Ding Ling and the Politics of Literature in Guomindang China. It is the first serious attempt to reconstruct Ding Ling's biography during the last few decades of her life. Most Westerners know her as a progressive woman writer who became famous during the May 4 Movement, championed its values in Yan'an and was criticized in the rectification campaigns that followed. Few know about her life afterward and the arduous process of rehabilitation. Here for the first time readers will learn about her life in the Great Northern Wasteland, solitary confinement in Qincheng prison, her visit to the United States, participation in the spiritual pollution campaign, and finally, the attempt to launch the journal China. All of this puts a new perspective on the life of one of China's most preeminent woman writers.

Excerpt

After interviewing Ding Ling several times in the fall of 1980 and again the following summer, hearing her deny what had been asserted earlier, either by herself or by close friends, I became disillusioned. Most disillusioning of all was to hear her deny things that made her famous in the West: that she was not, nor had ever been, a conscious participant in the women’s liberation movement, that she was not a champion of intellectual freedom, and that Mao had never aimed his Talks against her in particular. Needless to say, I wanted to know the truth, insofar at least as it could be determined, and I wanted to know everything that had led up to this monumental denial of self. the only way to do this was to begin from the beginning and search for possible causes. Hence, it was important to research Ding Ling’s early years. That effort led to my earlier book titled Enduring the Revolution (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002). Those who have read it may choose to ignore the Introduction and begin with Chapter 1, although my insights about the author’s life seem to grow in proportion to my distance from the subject, and the further away I am in time, the more clearly I can see the contours.

Ding Ling (1904–1986), née Jiang Bingzi, was born in Linli county, Hunan, a daughter of the wantonly rich Jiang family, which led a life very similar to that of the Jias and Zhens in the Dream of the Red Chamber. However rich, we need not assume that life in this traditional, patriarchal family was fulfilling, any more than it was for those who inhabited the Grand View Garden. “In the Chinese family system,” the writer told Helen Foster Snow, “there is superficial calmness and quarreling is frowned upon, but in reality all is in conflict.” By the time the girl was four years old, her opium-smoking father, a decided failure in his public as well as his private life, had succumbed to tuberculosis, leaving not only the daughter and her mother but her baby brother to struggle for survival.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.