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

By Mary Ann Farquhar | Go to book overview

4 Revolutionary Children's Literature

This chapter concentrates on the development of revolutionary children's literature between 1921, the year of the formation of the Chinese Communist Party, and 1949, the year of 'Liberation'. The emergence of this school has a significance beyond its influence in the pre-1949 period because its literature was institutionalized as the basis for the further development of children's literature after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. In other words, it became a seminal part of the new Chinese children's literature in the People's Republic.

As we have seen in earlier chapters, revolutionary children's literature was Marxist or, at least, contained a social analysis which was influenced by Marxism. It projected values concerned with the pursuit of an egalitarian society. Hence this literature is aligned with left-wing politics in the revolutionary period and was instrumental in the Liberation effort. Until his death in 1936, Lu Xun was the major theorist for this emerging school. In the forties, Mao Zedong merged revolutionary literature, including that for children, with the war effort. Mao famous "'Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art'" in 1942 set the theoretical guidelines for all revolutionary art over the next three to four decades. All literature was to be an ideological weapon and the passive romanticism of the early May Fourth period gave way to an active romanticism and, finally, to heroic adventure stories in children's literature.

This chapter, therefore, examines revolutionary children's literature within the wider framework of the history of the Chinese revolution. Historical developments are essential for understanding the rise of revolutionary children's literature and the demise of May Fourth romanticism.

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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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