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Problems and possibilities of the image of the “new man” in Chinese contemporary literature: starting with an argument between Yan Jiayan and Liu Qing over Liang Sheng-pao

  • Shi-yu LiuEmail author
Article
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Abstract

Taking the debate between Yan Jiayan and Liu Qing in the early 1960s about Liang Sheng-pao’s image in Builders of a New Life as an example, the image of “new man” has been generally considered to be a reflection of the shortcomings of “Seventeen-Year Literature” and “Cultural Revolution Literature” since the 1980s, which is why later researchers and writers rejected it. This essay argues holds the idea that the concept of “new man” has existed since ancient times. Archetypal figures in literary history are not fixed, but always change alongside the era and in relation to society; this is what underlies the legitimacy of the image of “new man”. The “historical trauma” caused by “Seventeen-Year Literature” and “Cultural Revolution Literature” is what causes scholars to an overly narrow bias against the “new man” image. Revisiting the significance and the changes undergone by this image will help us to explain literary history and related literary phenomena, helping the future literary creation find a way of grasping reality.

Keywords

Builders of a New Life The image of the “new man” Seventeen-Year Literature 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Sponsored by the program of The Reach and International Influence of Contemporary Chinese Culture (Program No. 16ZDA218).

References

  1. Jameson, Fredric. 2005a. Postmodernism and Cultural Theory. Tang Xiaobing trans. 后现代主义与文化理论. Peking University Press. This book was in Chinese only,containning Jameson’s speeches in China. The quotation is translated through the Chinese version.Google Scholar
  2. Jameson, Fredric. 2005b. Postmodernism and Cultural Theory. Tang Xiaobing trans. 后现代主义与文化理论. Peking University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Jiayan, Yan. 1963. About Liang Sheng-pao’s Image. Literary Review, June 1963.Google Scholar
  4. Jiayan, Yan. 1964a. The Image of Liang Sheng-pao and the Creation of New Heroes. Literary Review, August 1964.Google Scholar
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  7. Qing, Liu. 1963. Several Questions to be Discussed. Yan He River, August 1963.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School of Liberal Arts of Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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