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

By Mary Ann Farquhar | Go to book overview

he did not approve of people in 'The Children's Literature Movement' translating fairytales by Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, forgetting that children's literature was only part of children's problems in society at large. 93

This was the standpoint of revolutionary literature, the fourth school, which reasserted and reinterpreted this early May Fourth view. The literature of this school is discussed in detail in the next chapter.


Conclusion

Before the works by Ye Shengtao and Bing Xin, the proposed new literature for children was based on Western models, such as those translated by Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren, and on the argument that the neglect of children and their needs was an intrinsic part of China's outmoded feudal structure. With the creation of a new literature, however, that argument shifted from what it was not, to what it should be, to the sorts of genres suitable for children and the content of particular works. We see the commercialization and modification of an idea into the complex pattern of readership, publishing monopolies and social ideology. Not only was the new literature itself controversial, even among its adherents the styles of new literature were discussed, debated and even censored with partisan fervor.

At the center of the controversy stood the fairytale which, in its Chinese adaptation, stood less for the world of fantasy than for a means of virulent social criticism and as a vehicle for nurturing social change. The fairytale sparked a national debate in 1931. Even something so seemingly innocuous as collections of old Chinese fairytales for children signaled a rejection of the classical Confucian genres and a new interest in the 'lower' forms of popular art: the social status of a Confucian elite and the masses of people was being reversed. Lu Xun initially used the fairytale to liberate the reader's imagination from the prison of traditional values. Zhou Zuoren defended it on the evolutionary argument that children's mental maturity was on a par with that of primitive people whose superstitious world incorporated magic feats, fairies and talking animals; fairytales

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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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