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The river fans out: Chinese fiction since the late 1970s

  • HENRY Y. H. ZHAO (a1)

The 25 years of the post-Mao era of Chinese fiction is divided into two distinct stages: the pre-1989 period, and the post-1989 period. If this division is true about almost everything else in China, it is especially true with literature. This is because literature had been used as a lethal weapon for political struggle by Mao before and during his regime, and this tradition, though strongly challenged in the post-Mao era, still lingers, though in very different forms now and much watered down. Even the recent trends of art for art's sake, or for the sake of entertainment, or for the sake of religious consciousness, could also be read as political gestures, and are indeed treated as such by Chinese literary officialdom, and also by Western China experts. Despite the fact that Chinese fiction has been highly politicized, this paper will examine, as much as possible, the development of fiction as an art. Only the artistic quality can support my argument that recent novels from China deserve not only more scholarly attention but also more reader appreciation than they have hitherto received around the world.

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European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
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