Chinese Children’s Literature in the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976)
In China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), childhood was portrayed as a battlefield in which opposing classes strived to fulfil the political impetus of training their heirs. In order to represent the new socialist morality, the few stories produced for children had to shift their focus to the space of the adult world, where there were more activities of “revolution” and “class struggle”. Consequently in these stories, the child protagonists talked and behaved like adult political instructors voicing the whole vocabulary of abstract revolutionary rhetoric. Stories written in those years are often readily seen, in their political context, as propaganda. Nevertheless, this paper argues that, from the perspective of the twenty-first century, the ideology of the 1960s and 1970s may look less like “propaganda” and more like “legend” due to the way in which the passing of time is capable of transforming propaganda into traditional art.
Key words: Chinese children’s literature; Cultural Revolution; Propaganda
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