Chinese Fiction of the Cultural Revolution

Chinese Fiction of the Cultural Revolution

Chinese Fiction of the Cultural Revolution

Chinese Fiction of the Cultural Revolution

Synopsis

As the first comprehensive study of Chinese fiction of the Cultural Revolution, this pioneering work explores the position of the literature of this turbulent period in the context of contemporary China. The book covers the choice of subject matter, authorship and readership of Cultural Revolution fiction.

Excerpt

Based on the then current literary policy and theory, the unprecedented promotion of heroic characters made this aspect the single most important literary factor in CR fiction, influencing other aspects such as plot, structure, style and aesthetic views. This part analyses the characterization of main heroes in the novels under investigation.

'Hero', as used in English literary analysis, can be ambiguous, used both for 'main character' and 'protagonist' as well as for a brave man. In Chinese literary analysis, the English term 'hero' may correspond to zhurengong, yingxiong, and zhuyao yingxiong. Zhurengong refers to the character who plays the main role in the stories, yingxiong to an important positive character who is admired for his/ her goodness, bravery, great ability, etc., and zhuyao yingxiong to the most important positive character who is portrayed as the chief model personifying the current ideological and literary ideals. The 'main hero' under discussion (zhuyao yingxiong), corresponds to the 'main heroic character' in Yao Wenyuan's definition of the 'three prominences'. In addition, when used in a general sense, the 'main hero' refers to both males and females. In CR novels the main hero and the protagonist are always the same person. This is also true of most pre- CR novels, but there are some exceptions. For example, in the first volume of Great Changes in a Mountain Village, Liu Yusheng is the main hero, but Deng Xiumei is the protagonist [zhurengong].

This analysis is mainly qualitative, emphasizing the general characteristics of characterization of main heroes in the CR novels. For the sake of practicality, the analysis centres primarily on the following main heroes and works:

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