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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 Cultural Indigenization of a Soviet “Red Classic” Hero

The Cultural Indigenization of a Soviet “Red Classic” Hero

Pavel Korchagin’s Journey through Time and Space

(p.136) 8 The Cultural Indigenization of a Soviet “Red Classic” Hero
The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics"
Frederik H. Green
Hong Kong University Press

This chapter traces the reception of Nicholas Ostrovskii’s socialist-realist classic How the Steel was Tempered (Kak zakalialas’ stal,’ 1934) in China, from its first appearance in the late 1930s through the ideology-driven first decades of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) until the present. This chapter further explores the many roles attributed to the novel’s protagonist Pavel Korchagin, from war-hero and popular icon of the Mao era to unlikely role model during the reform period and, finally, symbol of nostalgia in post-socialist China. By illustrating how the novel has been thoroughly indigenized and become inseparable both from China’s revolutionary history as well as its popular culture, this chapter comments on the discursive complexity of this unlikely Red Classic and its afterlife in China.

Keywords:   Socialist realism, Revolutionary Culture, Bildungsroman, Mao era, Cultural Revolution, Post-socialism, cultural indigenization

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