Foreign Literature Education in China’s Secondary Schools from 1919 to 1949

  • Hongtao Liu
  • Jiening Ruan
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 2)


This chapter traces major stages in the historical development of the inclusion of translated foreign literature in Chinese secondary education between 1919 and 1949, the so-called modern literature period in China. Translated foreign literature played an important role in the New Culture Movement in China and served important sociocultural functions, including enlightening Chinese intellectuals and students about Western ideals, promoting patriotism and freedom from the rule of Western countries, and enhancing students’ literacy development in Vernacular Chinese (白话文). Through a review of junior and senior high school textbooks popular at that time, the authors highlight 15 foreign authors whose works were most frequently selected for inclusion in textbooks and provide information on their literary works, frequency of their works appearing in textbooks, and the translators of the works. The authors also describe some major pedagogical practices related to the teaching of translated foreign literature in secondary schools in China during the period as reflected in pedagogical theory books published at that time.


Literary Education Literary Work Short Story Chinese Literature Foreign Literature 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Comparative LiteratureBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Reading/Literacy EducationThe University of OklahomaNormanUSA

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