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The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"Politics, Aesthetics, and Mass Culture$
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Rosemary Roberts and Li Li

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390892

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390892.001.0001

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The “Red Classic” That Never Was

The “Red Classic” That Never Was

Wang Lin’s Hinterland1

(p.3) 1 The “Red Classic” That Never Was
The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"

Lianfen Yang

, Ping Qiu, Richard King
Hong Kong University Press

 Hinterland (Fudi), written between 1943 and 1944 by Wang Lin, was the first novel to depict the resistance of the Chinese Communist Party against the Japanese invasion. The first edition of this novel came out in 1950, but was soon banned after being criticized for violating Mao Zedong’s 1942 “Talks at the Yan’an Forum”. The second edition, which went through a thirty-year revision by the author and was published in 1985, received only a lukewarm reception from the post-Mao-era readership, precisely because of its author’s faithful response to Mao’s “Yan’an Talks” and the embodiment of the principle of “three prominences” in the novel. Through a comparative study of the two editions of Hinterland, this chapter investigates the difficult process -- and paradoxical nature -- of the creation of a “Red Classic” work. It demonstrates how in socialist China, literary criticism discursively framed by “historical materialism”, exercised political power within revolutionary “dialectic” logics as well as demonstrating a genuine capacity to shape the mindset of a writer.

Keywords:   Wang Lin, Hinterland, “red classic”, “revolutionary historical novel”

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