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7. Popular Readings and Wartime Historical Writings in Modern China

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Chapter Summary

The present chapter draws heavily from the Popular Reading Publishing House's (PRPH's) periodicals and other related publications obtained from various libraries. The PRPH maintained that the Chinese people were not only poor in material life, but also intellectually deficient in knowledge and skills and therefore remained backward. The concept of "new wine in old bottles" can be traced back to two origins: the theory of the popularization of literature and art advocated by the League of Left Wing Writers; and the debate in literary circles over "new or old forms" of literature. The form of the folk literature, to which the common people were accustomed and which was appropriate to the oral and dialogic form, was thus the key to creating a new national form. Through rewriting historical biographies and events, the PRPH sought to prepare the masses to become "modern citizens" and to acquire the rudiments of knowledge.

Keywords: folk literature; historical biographies; Popular Reading Publishing House (PRPH)



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