Children's Literature in China: From Lu Xun to Mao Zedong

By Mary Ann Farquhar | Go to book overview

1949. Here, revolutionary struggle would redeem Chinese society.

Lu Xun died in 1936 on the eve of the war with Japan, but at the end of the twentieth century he is still the acknowledged reference for children's literature in China. In 1936 a young writer, Chen Bochui, one of China's most prominent figures in children's literature from the thirties to the eighties, met him in a Shanghai bookstore. The young writer was searching for Verne Two Years on Vacation to retranslate for children when, unexpectedly, a voice suggested that perhaps it was not very well known. 'My heart skipped a beat and I couldn't help calling out: "Mr Lu Xun"!'105 Lu Xun suggested that there was no use in translating it and, after further questioning, that he did not know if there was anything worth translating from Japan, England and America. Lu Xun had also read Chen Bochui's children's stories. Although this young writer had read Lu Xun's two socialist translations, it was not until 1946 that Chen Bochui realized the social direction of these books and that science fiction, irrelevant in wartime, was still relevant in a postwar construction period just as Gorky had demanded in "'On Themes'". In short, Chen recognized that Lu Xun was right, although he could not know the future direction of children's literature. Twenty years after Lu Xun's death, Chen Bochui was to say:

Each time I read those pages in Lu Xun. . . essays, on children's education and children's literature, so full of militant strength, so rich in guidance, I gain a deeper and deeper understanding which often spurs me on in my work and provides me with a compass on the 'road' of children's literature. 106


Conclusion

The nature of childhood and of children's literature are both major issues and causes in Lu Xun's mature work. But they are not the central issue. The obsession at the heart of all Lu Xun's writings is how to 'save' China.

Lu Xun's interest in childhood and children's literature always focussed on their implications for the direction of social

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Children's Literature in China: From Lu Xun to Mao Zedong
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies on Modern China ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - The Historical Background 13
  • Conclusion 36
  • Notes 37
  • 2 - Lu Xun and the World of Children 41
  • Conclusion 84
  • Notes 86
  • 3 - A New Children's Literature 91
  • Conclusion 138
  • Notes 139
  • 4 - Revolutionary Children's Literature 143
  • Conclusion 185
  • Notes 187
  • 5 - Comic Books and Popularization 191
  • Conclusion 242
  • Notes 244
  • 6 - Children's Literature in the People's Republic of China 249
  • Conclusion 293
  • Notes 295
  • 7 - The Post-Mao Canon 299
  • Conclusion 305
  • Notes 306
  • Bibliography 307
  • Index 325
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