Chinese Literature in 20th Century

…has largely been ignored not only outside China but perhaps also within China. While I diligently read my Mao in those exuberating days in college (‘On Contradictions’, ‘On Guerilla Warfare’, and others from the Selected Works in 5 volumes), Li Shao Chi (‘How to be a Good Communist’) and tracts from Lin Biao, I only vaguely remember being introduced to the short stories of Lu Xun, and frankly dont remember any of the stories.

Pearl S Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’ was the closest that I came to associate China and literature. Besides some of the poetry of Chairman Mao. Of course.

Now Penguin has brought out the novel ‘Fortress Besieged’ by Qian Zhongshu, who published the novel in 1947, and subsequently spent the rest of his life translating the works of Chairman Mao and de-classing himself by labouring in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.

Julia Lovell explains the possibilities unleashed by Penguin’s republication of this novel about the 1930s’ Chinese intelligentsia and terms it as a Great leap forward.

One can only agree with her and exclaim: Let a hundred flowers bloom !

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