Chinese Literature - Modern Literature - Maoist Era (1949–1976)

Maoist Era (1949–1976)

After coming to power in 1949, the Communists gradually nationalized the publishing industry, centralized the book distribution system, and brought writers under institutional control through the Writers Union. A system of strict censorship was implemented, with Mao's "Yan'an Talks" as the guiding force. Periodic literary campaigns targeted figures such as Hu Shi and Hu Feng (胡风) who did not toe the Party line on literature. Socialist realism became the uniform style. Conflict, however, soon developed between the government and the writers. The ability to satirize and expose the evils in contemporary society that had made writers useful to the Communist Party of China before its accession to power was no longer welcomed. Even more unwelcome to the party was the persistence among writers of what was deplored as "petty bourgeois idealism," "humanitarianism", and an insistence on freedom to choose subject matter. This conflict came to a head in the Hundred Flowers Campaign (1956–57). Mao Zedong encouraged writers to speak out against problems in the new society. Having learned the lessons of the anti-Hu Feng campaign, they were initially reluctant; soon, however, a flurry of newspaper articles, films, and literary works drew attention to such problems as bureaucratism and authoritarianism within the ranks of the party. Now aware of the level of discontent toward the new regime by intellectuals, Mao decided to reverse the Hundred Flowers liberalization, a crackdown now referred to as the Anti-Rightist Movement (反右运动). Many intellectuals were attacked. At the time of the Great Leap Forward, the government increased its insistence on the use of socialist realism and combined with it so-called revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism. Authors were permitted to write about contemporary China, as well as other times during China's modern period——as long as it was accomplished with the desired socialist revolutionary realism.

Despite the draconian measures instituted by Mao's regime to instill literary uniformity, novels of great quality were produced. Examples of this new socialist literature include The Builder ( Chuanye Shi 创业史) by Liu Qing 柳青, The Song of Youth (Qing Chun Zhi Ge 青春之歌) by Yang Mo 杨沫, Tracks in the Snowy Forest (Lin Hai Xue Yuan 林海雪原 ) by Qu Bo (novelist) 曲波, Keep the Red Flag Flying (Hong Qi Pu 红旗谱) by Liang Bin 梁斌, The Red Sun ( Hong Ri 红日) by Wu Qiang 吴强, and Red Crag ( Hong Yan 红岩) by Luo Guangbin 罗广斌 and Yang Yiyan (杨益言).

During the Cultural Revolution, the repression and intimidation led by Mao's fourth wife, Jiang Qing, succeeded in drying up all cultural activity except a few "model" operas and heroic novels, such as those by Hao Ran (浩然). Although it has since been learned that some writers continued to produce in secret, during that period no significant literary work was published.

Read more about this topic:  Chinese Literature, Modern Literature

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Chinese Plays - Modern Literature - Maoist Era (1949–1976)
... Despite the draconian measures instituted by Mao's regime to instill literary uniformity, novels of great quality were produced ... Examples of this new socialist literature include The Builder ( Chuanye Shi 创业史) by Liu Qing 柳青, The Song of Youth (Qing Chun Zhi Ge 青春之歌) by Yang Mo 杨沫, Tracks in the Snowy Forest (Lin Hai Xue Yuan 林海雪原 ) by Qu Bo (novelist) 曲波, Keep the Red Flag Flying (Hong Qi Pu 红旗谱) by Liang Bin 梁斌, The Red Sun ( Hong Ri 红日) by Wu Qiang 吴强, and Red Crag ( Hong Yan 红岩) by Luo Guangbin 罗广斌 and Yang Yiyan (杨益言) ...

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