The Yenan Forum on Literature and Art in 1942 firmly established the inseparability of Chinese literature and politics. Since then, whenever political aims and emphases have changed, the direction of literature has changed accordingly. This relationship between literature and politics in the People’s Republic of China dictates that any representative anthology of contemporary Chinese literature must also reflect the political fortunes of the writers and their works. Thus, the readings in this volume have been selected and organized in relation to the major controversies that have shaken the politico-literary scene in China since 1949. Most scholars in the field agree on the utility of this approach in the study of modern Chinese literature.
With very few exceptions, all duly identified, the translations have been specially commissioned for this book, and the translator’s name appears at the end of each work or group of works. A headnote has been added to each selection or group of selections to provide biographical data on the author and to allow the translator or editor to make other essential comments on the work. A chronology of major events relevant to the development of contemporary Chinese literature follows the general introduction. A brief glossary of Chinese terms that are frequently used without translation, and of organizations, campaigns, and movements mentioned in many of the works, appears at the back of the book. Also included are a list of Chinese references, a list of the translators and contributors, an author index, and a title index.
An effort has been made to avoid duplicating the information in such readily available sources as Kai-yu Hsu, Twentieth Century Chinese Poetry and The Chinese Literary Scene, and John Elminghausen and Ted Huters, Revolutionary Literature in China.