I drink, time flies. I do not notice it. The falling blossoms collect on my cloak. I stagger about by the stream in the moonlight. The birds fly home, the streets are empty. Li Bai novel entitled “The Rickshaw Boy” (1937) which recounts the fortunes of a rickshaw driver; Mao Dun (1896-1981; see Famous People) wrote his highly acclaimed “Midnight” (1932), which dealt with life in Shanghai at the beginning ofthe 1930s; Ba Jin (b. 1904) wrote the “Family”, “Autumn”, “Spring” and “Fog”; Ai Qing and the feminist writer Ding Ling (1904-86). Guo Moruo (1892-1978; see Famous People) was respected as a poet and scholar who also wrote novels. Cao Yu wrote several celebrated plays of which “Sunrise” and “Wilderness” are his best known.
Writers within the Communist Party were committed by Mao Zedong to the creation of class-based literature, which would, on the one hand, reflect the views and feelings of the proletariat, but on the other, fulfil a distinct educational function. When the Communists won power in 1949 most prominent writers were banned. Simple poetry in the vernacular language was encouraged as were reportage-type accounts of life among the peasants and workers and also a type of contemporary heroic novel which glorified the struggle against foreign and class enemies. During the Cultural Revolution literary output was reduced almost exclusively to the publication of works by Mao Zedong, but after his death in 1976 it was not long before writers soon re-emerged. Almost all of the proscribed modern writers were rehabilitated, sometimes posthumously. There was an intense interest in
China’s classical literature and also in Western literature. Recent notable developments in prose include short stories by Wang Meng (b. 1934) and also the novella, which permits an unusual treatment ofthe hero and inner monologues.
A number of exiled writers are of world-wide renown. A. Cheng (b. 1949) who emigrated to the USA in 1987 is the author of “Chess King” (1985) and “Tree King”. On the other hand, one ofthe most interesting young writers of Anglo-Saxon literature is Timothy Mo, a Hong Kong Chinese whose works include “Sweet and Sour” and “The Monkey King”.
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