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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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Castration for the People

Castration for the People

The Politics of Revision and the Structure of Violence in Hao Ran’s Short Stories

(p.93) 6 Castration for the People
The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"

Xiaofei Tian

Hong Kong University Press

Chinese socialist peasant writer, Hao Ran (1932-2008), was well-known for his novels, Bright Sunny Sky and The Great Road of Golden Light, and remained the best-selling author during the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976). This essay focuses on his less-studied short stories, all but one published between 1958 and 1960. Through a discussion of the politics of his revisions of his early stories, the essay argues that, far from being simplistic transmissions of a socialist ideology, these stories are often unintentionally complicated representation of gender, class, desire, and sexuality in China’s “socialist construction” era. As the Cultural Revolution represents a climax of the epic socialist battle against si, a word that encompasses a wide range of meanings from selfishness and self-interest to anything personal and private, the pruning and clipping performed by Hao Ran to his early stories are ultimately paralleled by the violence committed within a text. The last part of the essay analyzes a story written at the end of the Cultural Revolution period, which demonstrates a discursive structure of violence and embodies the obsessive quest for transparency and the spiritual violence of the Cultural Revolution itself.

Keywords:   Hao Ran (1932-2008), Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), gender and socialist literature, sexuality in socialist literature, socialist fiction, violence, revision, expose/exposure (jiefa, jielu, and baolu), transparency of the self, si (selfishness, self-interest, personal, and private)

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