Bolshevik Salute: A Modernist Chinese Novel

Bolshevik Salute: A Modernist Chinese Novel

Bolshevik Salute: A Modernist Chinese Novel

Bolshevik Salute: A Modernist Chinese Novel

Excerpt

For those unfamiliar with the literary history of the People's Republic of China, the publication of modernist works after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 may not seem to be a great event. To scholars and others following the political and literary movements of China, however, the relatively widespread emergence of modernism marks a radical break with the past. The Chinese literary works that were produced in the late 1970s and first half of the 1980s broke precedent with the socialist realism of the post-1949 era and even with the critical realism of the May Fourth decade of the 1920s. In the decade following the Cultural Revolution, which officially ended with the death of Mao Zedong and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976, Chinese writers began to experiment with a form of literary expression that, with very few exceptions, had not existed on the Chinese mainland since the poetic experiments of Dai Wangshu and Li Jinfa in the 1930s. After these early attempts at modernist poetry, which included the pioneering efforts of the "New Sensibility Group" (Xin ganjue pai) in the thirties, the political situation in China favored a more socially engaged literature that would actively work to resist the Japanese aggression of the thirties and forties. At least in the Yan'an area, where Communist authorities were forging the literary ideology that would become the foundation of literary politics on the mainland after 1949, modernism and other forms of literature that did not carry an overt political or social message were not as popular as works that promoted class struggle . . .

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