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A shattered mirror : the literature of the Cultural Revolution King, Richard 1984

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A SHATTERED MIRROR: THE LITERATURE OF THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION By RICHARD KING M.A. Cantab., 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Asian Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1984 ©Richard King, 1984 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date E-6 (3/81) ABSTRACT The l i t e r a t u r e of the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n (1966-76) i s examined by c o n s i d e r i n g the d i v e r g e n t r e s p o n s i b i l i t e s of the author i n contemporary China to "society" and "self." R e s p o n s i b i l i t y to " s o c i e t y " i s a matter of p r e s e n t i n g i n a f a v o u r a b l e l i g h t the p r o g r e s s of the Chinese n a t i o n i n the s o c i a l i s t society of the People's Republic; concentration on the " s e l f " i n v o l v e s both concern f o r the i n d i v i d u a l and a c c u r a t e representation of l i f e as i t i s observed by the author. Writing for "society" and " s e l f " need not be i n c o n f l i c t , i f the r e a l i t i e s recorded by authors r e f l e c t a sanguine image, and thereby i n s p i r e confidence i n the course charted by the nation's l e a d e r s . In p r a c t i c e , however, the balance has proved hard to maintain. The tendency has been for Communist Party leaders to mistrust as p o t e n t i a l l y subversive the l i t e r a t u r e of the " s e l f " and demand predominantly " s o c i a l " works t h a t w i l l boost the Party's p r e s t i g e (and t h e i r own) among the r e a d e r s h i p . The l i t e r a t u r e of the C u l t u r a l Revolution represents the culmination of a d i r e c t e d tendency towards towards the " s o c i a l " a l r e a d y e v i d e n t i n the Communist l i b e r a t e d areas i n the 1940's and r e s t a t e d w i t h i n c r e a s i n g v i g o u r a f t e r 1949. I n s i s t e n c e on the author's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to "society" led at times to the v i r t u a l abnegation of the " s e l f , " and gave r i s e to writings i n which the " s o c i a l " o r i e n t a t i o n i s so s t r o n g t h a t i t o f t e n p r e c l u d e s the " s e l f ; " they feature f i c t i o n a l c o n f l i c t s i n which normative Party r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s overcome the enemies of s o c i a l i s m and win the i i love of the populace. The literature of the Cultural Revolution has been largely dismissed i n China and the West since 1976. This neglect i s unfortunate, both because of the i n t r i n s i c interest of the study and because the literature i s an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the extremes to which insistence on "social" responsibility can lead. This thesis i s an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of c e r t a i n important features of Cultural Revolution literature. In the two opening chapters, the l i t e r a r y policy i s examined that led to t h i s emphasis on " s o c i a l " r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Thereafter (in chapter 3) the B e i j i n g Operas created as l i t e r a r y exemplars in the f i r s t half of the Cultural Revolution w i l l be analysed to extrapolate the model that was to serve for a l l other art. In each of chapters A - 6, a Cultural Revolution novel i s examined. One of these i s a c o l l a b o r a t i v e e f f o r t produced under close Party scrutiny; the other two are by the most celebrated writer of the day, the peasant author Hao Ran. Only in one novel, Hao Ran's The  Golden Road, do the concerns of the " s e l f " balance the predominately "social" burden of Cultural Revolution literature, resulting in the best writing of the period; in a later work, the same author i s seen to d e c l i n e i n t o producing f a c t i o n a l propaganda. The f i n a l chapter reviews two novels with a similar background, the r u s t i c a t i o n of urban youth, to compare the i d e a l i s t i c images of C u l t u r a l Revolution l i t e r a t u r e with the sombre picture r e f l e c t e d i n the " s e l f - o r i e n t e d writing of the l a t e 1970,s. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i L i s t of Figures i x Figures x Acknowledgements x i i Introduction 1 I. A l t e r n a t i v e Frameworks 2 i ) "Expression of Feelings" vs. "Vehicle f o r Mora l i t y " 2 i i ) "Cog" vs. "Scout" 4 i i i ) Party Leadership vs. Dissident I n t e l l e c t u a l s 5 i v ) Realism vs. Romanticism , 7 I I . "Society" and " S e l f " 13 i ) "Society" 15 i i ) " S e l f " 17 I I I . The L i t e r a r y Mirror 21 IV. Outline of the Present Study 26 1. The Assertion of Party Control: from Qian Xingcun to Mao Zedong 31 I. Before Yan'an 32 i ) Shanghai 32 i i ) J i a n g x i 36 I I . Yan'an 38 i ) Mao and the " L i t e r a r y Opposition" 38 i i ) The "Talks" 43 i v a. Function of the Arts 44 b. Role of the A r t i s t 46 i i i ) "National Forms" 50 I I I . From 1949 to the Eve of the C u l t u r a l Revolution 55 Appendix - New Wine i n Old Bottle: Four Faces of a Bogus Bride 60 2. C u l t u r a l Revolution L i t e r a r y Theory: Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing 63 I. Yao Wenyuan 64 i ) Yao's Early Career 65 i i ) The Object of Yao's Attacks: the "Blooming and Contending" of 1961-2 68 i i i ) Hai Rui Dismissed from O f f i c e 71 i v ) The "Three-family V i l l a g e " 75 v) Zhou Yang 78 v i ) Yao's L i t e r a r y P o l i c y for the C u l t u r a l Revolution 80 I I . Jiang Qing 82 i ) "On the Revolution i n B e i j i n g Opera" 85 i i ) The "Summary" 90 i i i ) "Comrade Jiang Qing's Talk to an Assembly on the Arts" 94 i v ) The "Three Prominences" 97 3. The Pattern for L i t e r a r y Creation: The Model Works 100 I. The Revision Process 103 i ) Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy 107 i i ) The Red Lantern 110 v i i i ) Shajiabang 113 I I . Common Features of Character and Plot 115 i ) "Three Prominences" Characterisation 115 a. Central Heroes 116 b. Secondary Heroes 120 c. The Masses 121 d. V i l l a i n s 122 e. "Turnabout Characters" 124 i i ) P l o t Structure 127 I I I . Models for L i f e and L i t e r a t u r e 129 IV. Conclusion 132 4. History of Batt l e s at Hongnan: the F i r s t Model-influenced Novel 136 I. "Three-in-one": the Writing Team 137 I I . H i s t o r i c a l Background: A g r i c u l t u r a l C o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n 141 I I I . Application of the Opera Model 147 i ) Characterisation 147 a. A New Hero of C o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n 147 b. Secondary Heroes 150 c. The Masses 151 d. Enemies Within and Without 153 i i ) P l o t 156 IV. Non-operatic Elements 162 V. Conclusion 167 5. Exploring the L i m i t s : The Golden Road 172 I. Creative Adherence to the Opera Model 174 v i i) Lofty, Large and Complete": the Central Hero 177 i i ) Stock Characters and Individuals: the Secondary Heroes 182 i i i ) A Parallel Structure: the Villains 184 iv) The Sibling Split: Representatives of the Masses 187 v) Transformation of a Peasant Archetype: a "Turnabout Character" 193 II. Narrative Technique 197 i) Operatic Structure 197 i i ) Shifting Perspective 199 i i i ) Enlightenment through Authority Figures 202 III. Romantic Love and Revolutionary Romanticism 205 IV. Conclusion 207 Appendix - Hao Ran: a Brief Literary Biography 211 6. Factional Politics in Command: Hundred Blossom Valley 216 I. Features of "Conspiratorial Literature and Art" 217 II. The Divided village 221 III. The Opera Model: Azalea Mountain 228 IV. From "Middle Character" to "Turnabout" 233 V. Purification through Fire 237 VI. Faction as "Society" 238 7. "Society" and "Self": the Cultural Revolution Novel in Perspective 243 I. Historical Background: Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages 246 II. The Journey 252 III. The Path of Life 262 vi i IV. The Spoiled Brat and the Tragic Heroine 274 Conclusion 282 Notes 286 Introduction 286 Chapter 1 293 Appendix to Chapter 1 300 Chapter 2 301 Chapter 3 308 Chapter 4 312 Chapter 5 315 Appendix to Chapter 5 318 Chapter 6 320 Chapter 7 323 Conclusion 326 Glossary of Chinese Names and Terms 328 Glossary of Journals Cited 342 Bibliography 345 v i i i LIST OF FIGURES Fig. 1. "Workers, Peasants and Soldiers are Masters of the Stage," in Zalan wenyi heixian, Geming cankao wenxian #15 (1967). The cartoon shows heroes and heroines of the Model Works, most brandishing copies of Mao's Quotations. From left: Yang Zirong, Fang Haizhen, Li Tiemei (with red lantern), Wu Qinghua (with banner of the Red Detachment), The White-haired Girl, Yan Weicai. Under Yang Zirong's boot, from left are: Hai Rui, Li Huiniang, Liu Shaoqi. Fig. 2. "Study Lu Xun, Carry on the Revolution to the End", Wall-poster, Fudan University, March 1976. ix Fig. 1 x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The f i r s t four years of my graduate studentship were financed by the generosity of the Draper's Company of London and the Isaac Walton K i l l a m Foundation; my research i n China was sponsored by the B r i t i s h C o u n c i l . W h i l e c o n d u c t i n g my r e s e a r c h and p r e p a r i n g t h i s t h e s i s , I have b e n e f i t e d from t h e a d v i c e and i n s t r u c t i o n of P r o f e s s o r s Chia-ying Yeh Chao, Michael Duke, Ted Huters, Graham Johnson and P e t e r Rushton o f the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a ; C. T. H s i a of Columbia U n i v e r s i t y ; Wang Yongsheng and Wu Huanzhang a t Fudan U n i v e r s i t y ; Milena D o l e z e l o v a - V e l i n g e r o v a o f the U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto and Donald Holoch of York U n i v e r s i t y . The a u t h o r s Hao Ran, Q i n Zhaoyang, Wang Ruowang and Zhu L i n g r a c i o u s l y permitted extensive i n t e r v i e w s i n China. To these i n s t i t u t i o n s and i n d i v i d u a l s I express my g r a t e f u l a p p r e c i a t i o n . x i i INTRODUCTION The literature with which this thesis is concerned marks an attempt at a cultural transformation that was to spearhead the political and social transformations of the Cultural Revolution. The Communist Party media in the mid-1970's claimed magnificent success in creating a popular culture that was both truly socialist and truly Chinese, in accordance with the synthesis of the principles of Leninism and the realities of the Chinese Revolution that Mao Zedong had contrived in the revolutionary base areas during the war with the nationalists.* This transformation, i t was claimed, resulted in the robust figures of China's workers, peasants and soldiers dominating the performing, literary and fine arts, replacing effete and treacherous elites (see f i g . 1); and those same proletarians wielding the pen in vigorous defence of the revolutionary vanguard (fig. 2). The legacy of the Cultural Revolution, in the arts as in society, i s not the glorious one i t s defenders claimed. The writing of the period is too often crude, dogmatic and formulaic, concerned almost exclusively with narrow and often factional p o l i t i c a l goals, and scarred by ubiquitous Mao quotations in heavy type. Therefore the literature of the Cultural Revolution has largely been passed over by scholars preferring to concentrate on the post-Mao literary renaissance which began with the "wounds" and "exposure" literature of the late 1970's. Yet 1 the literature of the Cultural Revolution deserves, and rewards, more study than has so far been accorded i t . Here was the culmination of a tendency in existence since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1920's to direct cultural endeavour in such a way as to propel the Chinese people towards the communist society that is its goal. We will be examining the development of the literary theories of the Cultural Revolution, and of the literary models of the 1960's that were to be the embodiment of these theories. A l l of these were designed to impose an orthodox message and appearance on modern Chinese literature. Through analysis of representative novels of the 1970's we will evaluate the literature thus produced. Many influential frameworks have been offered by Chinese and Western scholars to analyse conflicts of ideas and wills in the development of modern Chinese literature. Four that have been considered in the preparation of this study will be summarised below before we elaborate on the paradigm that shapes the present investigation: the interaction of the author's divergent responsibilities to "society" and "self." I. Alternative Frameworks i) "Expression of Feelings" vs. "Vehicle for Morality" In the second of his lectures on The Sources of China's New  Literature (Zhongguo xin wenxue de yuanliu) given at Furen University in 1932, Zhou Zuoren postulated two opposing themes 2 running through Chinese literary history. He categorised these with two aphorisms: first, "poetry as the expression of feelings" (shi yan zhi) which is derived from the Preface to the Book of  Odes (Shijing),^ and secondly, "literature as a vehicle for morality" (wen yi zai dao), a term coined in the eleventh century but with antecedents in the staunch Confucianism of the Tang literatus Han Yu."' Zhou Zuoren saw social upheaval as conducive to the s p i r i t u a l / a e s t h e t i c "expression of feelings" in literature, with strong government favouring the "vehicle for morality" approach. Zhou's clear preference was for the "expression of feelings," which more closely adhered to his definition of literature as "something that uses an aesthetic form to transmit the author's particular thoughts and feelings so that the reader can derive pleasure from i t ; " ^ and he was suspicious of "the p o l i t i c a l — in particular the revolutionary p o l i t i c a l ; the religious or quasi-religious; and the utilitarian"^ tendencies implicit in the view of literature as a "vehicle for morality." Zhou set himself the task of identifying periods of ascendancy for these expressive and pragmatic literatures, praising the former and denigrating the latter. Zhou's framework is, as David Pollard wryly observes, "not a Q very delicate analytical instrument," and he undermined his argument with the excessive zeal with which he pursued i t back into history, claiming for example that the strong government of the Tang dynasty favoured "vehicle for morality" literature and 3 therefore produced l i t t l e of value; but his analysis works quite well for the modern period. The May Fourth movement, in which he was a leading player, brought about a flourishing of literature that was indeed an "expression of feelings" in i t s tendency towards the individualist and subjective. Yet Zhou predicted, accurately enough, that under a strong government, the pendulum would swing back to an officially sanctioned "moral" literature. Given the increasing insistence on a state-sponsored "morality" from the communist victory to the death of Mao, i t is not surprising that many of the most popular of the writers of the Republican period ceased creative work. "A different kind of fiction is in demand now," Shen Congwen told the visiting Kai-yu Hsu in 1973; "I can't deliver." 9 Even within the moral orthodoxy of communist literature, we can discern that in the post-Mao social and ideological upheaval, there has been greater emphasis on the "expression of feelings," making for a literature reminiscent of the May Fourth period. i i ) "Cog" vs. "Scout" Rudolf Wagner's recent essay on the function of art and the artist as reflected in the debates of the mid-1950's (the Hundred Flowers period) presents two opposing roles for the writer: the "cog" and the "scout." 1 0 The f i r s t of these positions, derived from Lenin 1 1 and reiterated by Mao at Yan'an, was that literature should function as a "cog and a screw," that i s , an integrated and subordinate A component of the machinery operated by the revolutionary leadership. This parallels the didactic "moral" function of the arts outlined above. The second position, also imported from the Soviet Union, though this time in the "thaw" which followed the death of Stalin, was propounded by Valentin Ovechkin, who likened the writer to an array scout, working in the interests of the Party but independent of i t s organisational machinery. The "scout" notion, though immediately drawn from the Soviet Union, had Chinese antecedents in the bureaucratic office of censor, which entrusted its holders with the burdensome and precarious task of pointing the errors of their sovereign. By revealing inequity and incompetence within the communist system, and by illustrating their effects of the characters in their reports and stories, the Chinese "scouts," Liu Binyan chief among them in both the first and second "Hundred Flowers," intended to inspire the Party's leaders to reform. Their criticisms, like those of many of their censorious predecessors, were not always gratefully received by their rulers, and many of the young "scouts" spent twenty years in disgrace for their temerity. i i i ) Party Leadership vs. Dissident Intellectuals The most prevalent view of the history of Chinese literature under communism presents a running battle between the Communist Party leadership and dissident intellectuals. C. T. Hsia, in his History of Modern Chinese Fiction, portrays an oppressive Party enforcing obedience from authors and squashing individual expression. "Precisely because a l l novelists 5 under Mao Zedong begin with types [Hsia writes], they have 1 9 created nothing." Hsia's portrait of communist fiction is one of servile hacks producing works the best of which are "very dull 1 o and mechanical," wherein natural human feelings are repressed to meet the "jealous demands of the Party and state."1^ Hsia's dim view of contemporary Chinese culture is developed in Merle Goldman's Literary Dissent in Communist China, which concentrates on the dissenters in a scheme which sets the Party, with Zhou Yang acting as its chief agent, against an opposition of bold and independent-minded intellectuals in a series of repressive campaigns dating from the Yan'an rectification. 1^ The same kind of "good guys" and "bad guys" analysis, this time with the roles reversed, can be found in the writings of Yao Wenyuan and his successors, the polemicist writing-groups of the Cultural Revolution. Yao's view was of a "correct" Party leadership, identifiable with the person of Mao Zedong, constantly under attack from enemies within and without the Party (whom he stigmatised variously as revisionists, rightists, counter-revolutionaries, capitalist-roaders, etc., depending on the prevailing campaign). Yao's own work will be considered at length below; here we cite one example from other hands, a collective enterprise dating from the mid-1970s. This is a university textbook on literary history between 1942 and 1972 entitled Thirty Years on the Battle-front of Artistic Theory (Wenyi sixiang zhanxian sanshi nian). l p In this text, the same dissenters who are the heroes of Goldman's work are the villains 6 of the piece, but they are seen, not as independent c r i t i c s of Party policies, but agents for a succession of purged Party leaders (Peng Dehuai, Liu Shaoqi, Lin Biao, etc.) who were supposedly busily plotting to subvert the revolution in which a l l played leading roles. Gross distortions allow a simple two-line struggle to be traced throughout. This analysis, now discredited in China, resembles that of the Western scholars noted above in i t s perception of the debates in the arts p i t t i n g Party leadership against the rest, and (as will be shown in a study of Yao's writings below) in its shared contempt for Zhou Yang. The weakness of the Party vs. intellectuals scheme is that neither side was as united as the analysis requires; the Communist Party has certainly had i t s share of factional i n -fighting throughout the history of the People's Republic, and has seldom managed the unanimity to enforce any cultural policy for long. Furthermore, the "anti-Party" coalition posited by Yao and his inheritors contains Party leaders and artists with l i t t l e in common beyond their eventual fa l l i n g out with Mao Zedong. Goldman's subsequent analysis, which views conflicts in the cultural arena by dividing both the Party leadership and the intellectuals between "pragmatists" and "radicals," i s a wiser one, though some of the major figures defy categorisation.^ iv) Realism vs. Romanticism Finally, we must consider the meaning of two aesthetic terms commonly used in the categorisation of literary works in China: 7 realism (xianshizhuyi) and romanticism (langmanzhuyi). These are difficult, imprecise and ambiguous terms, even more so in modern China than in the West. Their meanings have not remained constant, either in the republican or communist years, and have become a l l the hazier when incorporated in hybrid forms like "socialist realism" and "the combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism." Realism, as Raymond Williams explains, has been used in the West since the nineteenth century to describe "a method or an attitude in art and literature — at f i r s t an exceptional accuracy of representation, later a commitment to describing real 1 ft events and showing them as they really exist." The purpose of their art, for the realists of nineteenth century Europe, was to study contemporary l i f e and manners "dispassionately, impersonally, objectively." 1 9 To this pursuit of truthful representation Friedrich Engels (in his letter to Margaret 20 Harkness ) added the dimension of typicality, whereby realist writing illustrates tendencies implicit in society at a given stage of development. In Georg Lukacs' phrase, realism is shaped by a "hierarchy of significance" within which the situation and characters can be interpreted. Such a hierarchy is of course defined by the ideological perspective of the author. Thus his knowledge and understanding of human society are of crucial importance. Jaroslav Prusek cites as the qualities necessary to produce a great work of art "deep emotional engagement and a 00 s c i e n t i f i c a l l y founded grasp of social processes, giving the 8 example of the pre-eminent Chinese realist Mao Dun as a writer thus qualified. The intention of realist writing to portray underlying truth and present a logically articulated picture of reality, as opposed to an ideal v i s i o n of man and the world, has characteristically involved exposing the seamier side of apparently proper and harmonious societies like Dickens' London or Mao Dun's Shanghai, and thus associated realism with the cause 2 3 of s o c i a l reform. The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of realism with revelation of corruption, injustice and oppression has been a constant in modern Chinese literature, from the novels of Mao Dun to the p o s t - C u l t u r a l Revolution "new r e a l i s m " (x i n  xieshizhuyi). ^ The communist parties of the Soviet Union and China, while following Engels in advocating realism as a desirable approach to literary creation, have seen f i t to mitigate its propensity for the revelation of a darker side to socialist society. The introduction in the Soviet Union of "socialist realism" (by Maxim Gorky at the First Writers Conference of 1934) sought to ensure that the engagement of the realist would be "socialist" in accordance with the direction of the Communist Party and led, especially in the post-war commissariat of Andrei Zhdanov, to direct intervention by the Soviet state in the creative process. "Socialist realism" was advocated as i t s policy by the Chinese Communist Party until its break with the Soviet Party in the late 1950's.^ -* The "socialist" epithet carried the expectation that 9 writers share the socialist goals of the Party, view man and society in terms of their potential rather than their observed failings, and thus eschew the kind of revelation that could present socialism and the Party in unfavourable light. Advocacy of unmodified realism since 1949 has been regarded with considerable suspicion by Party leaders as a demand for licence to c r i t i c i s e , or expose, the socialist system. In the extreme case of the mid-1960's, realism was condemned in Jiang Qing's "Summary" (Jiyao), as anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary. The romanticism that was imported from the West during the early days of the May Fourth movement involved the liberation of 97 both the imagination and the individual from convention. Guo Moruo and others of his colleagues who first espoused romanticism had by 1923 combined i t with Marxism to link the causes of 98 individual liberation and national revolution. While realism in i t s traditional sense has pursued the typical, romanticism, from the euphoria that followed the French Revolution, dealt with the promise of mankind in writings characterised by "imagery, symbol and myth"^9 rather than graphic description, and produced heroic figures like Goethe's Werther (brought before a Chinese audience by Guo Moruo in 1921). The concept of romanticism met with less favour among Chinese theorists in the decade following communist victory, but we should note that the promise of the realisation of mankind's potential in the post-revolutionary Chinese society was already 10 implicit in the "socialist" epithet that preceded the officially sanctioned "realism." The combination of realism and romanticism was f i r s t proposed i n China in March 1958 during the drive to collect folk-op, songs during the Great Leap Forward. It was followed the next month by the "combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism" (geming xianshizhuyi he geming  langmanzhuyi xiang jiehe) that was to be demanded of a l l writers for the next two decades. This combination was first described in essays praising Mao's poem "Reply to Li Shuyi" (Da Li Shuyi) i n which Mao's first wife and Li's husband, both of whom perished i n the c i v i l war, are imagined joyfully transported to heaven. The poem is a highly romantic one, the "revolutionary" component provided by the cause i n which both martyrs perished and i n which their survivors achieved victory. There is l i t t l e realism evident. "Revolutionary romanticism" did not long remain confined to poetry: the first issue of the Party journal Red Flag (Hongqi), in June of 1958, called for the "combination of revolutionary romanticism and revolutionary realism" — referred to thereafter as the "double revolutions" (shuangge) to be applied throughout literature. A recent commentator has commented caustically that the reason for the introduction of the "double revolutions" i n the late 1950's was that the large dose of subjectivism and optimism conveyed by "revolutionary romanticism" was indispensible i f anything good was to be said about the Utopian and ill-conceived Great Leap. While most of the policies of the Great Leap Forward were abandoned in the early 1960's, nominal adherence to the "double revolutions" was maintained, and they were re-emphasised in the Cultural Revolution. A 1973 text-book on Marxist literary theory (Cultural Revolution style) defined the two components as follows: What we mean by revolutionary realism i s the concrete manifestation in l i t e r a t u r e of the revolutionary scientific search for truth of the proletariat, which requires that [ a r t i s t i c ] creation should adhere rigorously to the Marxist theory of reflection, enter deeply into l i f e , and starting from the true facts of l i f e , profoundly reflect the objective process of the historical development of the revolutionary reality. What we mean by revolutionary romanticism i s the revolutionary idealism of the proletariat which requires that creation should express the great ideals of communism, the militant s p i r i t of revolutionary heroism, and revolutionary optimism of the proletariat as they struggle to realise this ideal. 34 The effect of the "double revolutions" was to stifle the critical potential of "realism" beneath the weight of Party direction and utopianism imposed by the two "revolutionarys" and one "romanticism." An i l l u s t r a t i o n of the way the "realist" and "romantic" approaches in post-1949 China have differed in portraying the social change of, for example, agricultural collectivisation, is as follows: the "realist" author shows recognisable peasant types learning to adapt to unfamiliar but ultimately desirable policies by means of arguments among family members and neighbours, and through bitter experience. Since the realism is of a socialist 12 or revolutionary nature, the arguments put forward by progressive peasants, combined with practical experience, win over the more conservative. The "romantic" counterpart presents the same conflicts in terms of a struggle between a pre-eminent hero embodying the Party's policy, and a recognisable villain opposing i t (a traitor, the representative of a purged leader, etc.), resulting in the triumphant victory of the hero and the or. humiliation of the villain, to the delight of the masses. The latter is a scenario commonly seen in Cultural Revolution literature. In the chapters that follow, we w i l l refer to a l l four of the views on the disposition of the conflicts in modern Chinese literature that have been introduced above. We now turn to the paradigm that, i t i s suggested, offers the best approach to the study of Chinese literature under communism: "society" and "self." II. "Society" and "Self" In his essay on the stories of Feng Menglong (1574-1645/6),-^ c. T. Hsia observes that "the dichotomy of feeling to be discerned in a great many of the sanyan tales stems ... from O "7 the story-teller's dual allegiance to self and society." In Hsia's reading of Feng's stories, "self" is essentially a matter of emotional fulfillment, particularly in the area of sexuality, and i t i s seen in conflict with "society" — the conventional morality of Confucianism which "i s identifiable with the 13 suppression of one's deep-seated instincts for the maintenance of O Q social decorum."00 "In story after story", Hsia writes, "he [Feng's narrator] pulls himself away from the brink of sexual licence to assert the importance of law and order."^9 A sense of duty to preserve the s o c i a l order results in the author maintaining a balance-sheet of just deserts (baoying, usually translated "retribution"), with virtue rewarded, and condign punishment visited on those who, albeit with the tacit approval of the narrator, step beyond conventional limits. Only in a single story, Feng Menglong's masterpiece "The Pearl-sewn S h i r t , d o e s the author satisfy the divergent demands of licence and decorum to the extent that, in Hsia's words " i t is no longer necessary to speak of the irreconcilable claims of self and society."^ 1 Hsia's essay establishes a dialectic (though this is not the term he uses) between personal fulfillment and social obligation similar to that which has been observed in the Western literary tradition, and which provides the vocabulary for this analysis of Chinese literature under communist leadership. There are differences between the understanding of the terms as used by Hsia and as they appear in the present study: here we w i l l elaborate on the meanings, for present purposes, of "society" and "self." 1 4 i) "Society" What will be considered as "social" literature shares some common ground with in Feng Menglong's fiction inasmuch as the latter conforms to the Confucian code. The communism of the literature under review is likewise a state morality devoted to the establishment (pre-1949) and preservation (post-1949) of a society predicated upon i t . An author's responsibility to "society" is both monitored by the Communist Party and to a considerable extent measured in terms of perceived loyalty to the Party. It is the Party which sets guidelines for literary creation and assesses i t s social consequences. So a work's "partyness" (dangxing, c.f. Russian partinost) i s an integral part of i t s "socialness." Imposed adherence to an official view of man and the world should not in theory trouble authors who are either members of the Party or at least share i t s broad goals; but i t does in fact become problematical in a period such as the Cultural Revolution, when artists are required to reflect in their works the sharp changes in historical analysis and Weltanschauung that result from elite struggles within the Party hierarchy. Writers eager to accommodate themselves to such shifts, either for reasons of Party loyalty or opportunism, face the danger that, in propagating views for which they have scant sympathy, they may commit a contemporary Chinese trahison des clercs. The writing of the novelist Hao Ran in the final year of the Cultural Revolution is examined below in the context of a possible 15 betrayal of conscience. "Social" literature in the context of China since 1949 tends to be popular in nature (that is, designed to have mass appeal), portraying and appealing to the broad constituency (gong-nong- bing, "workers, peasants and soldiers") with which the Communist Party identifies i t s e l f , and of which i t sets out to be the vanguard. It is optimistic and exemplary, in that i t portrays a universe unfolding as i t should and the members of a great nation achieving their potential in effecting the transformation of Chinese society towards the eventual goal of communism. Since i t dwells on human potential rather than human failings, less savoury features of socialist society appear as tenacious survivors of a feudal or imperialist past, and the means to their eradication is demonstrated. As such, the intellectual process by which "social" literature i s created i s inductive, with received truths about human behaviour and social development applied to a particular case. Here, as in the literary world of Feng Menglong, a system of "just deserts" i s in operation, benefits accruing to those who commit themselves to an enlightened Party i n i t i a t i v e , danger stalking those who vacillate, and punishment meted on those who oppose or subvert i t . 4 3 Like popular literature everywhere,^ this communist "social" writing functions according to conventions with which its audience feels at home. As in Western popular fiction, be i t detective/cowboy/romantic, etc., problems are resolved, order is 16 restored, the hero(ine) triumphs. For i t s formal conventions, Chinese popular writing has frequently reverted to the "simulated context" (to use Patrick Hanan's term^) of the street-corner story-teller, coupled with the recycling of plot components from traditional narrative adapted to f i t the setting of the modern work. This traditional intertext was expanded in the Cultural Revolution, with stock characters and plots from a corpus of literary models reappearing elsewhere in the arts in slightly different guises and situations. The accessibility to a popular audience that conventionality brings to a literary work has been almost invariably favoured by Communist Party o f f i c i a l s overseeing the arts since the 1940's over the pursuit of aesthetic refinement, i f this latter leads to more d i f f i c u l t styles less suited to presenting an inspirational picture to an audience of modest educational attainment. i i ) "Self" At the heart of the literature of the "self," as i t is understood below, are two related concepts. First, concern for the individual as he/she relates to society, whether or not they conform to the exemplary figures of the "social" works. To a certain extent, this corresponds to the exploration of the psyche and pursuit of emotional fulfillment posited as the self in Hsia's dialectic; but i t is as much concerned with political and professional relationships as emotional ones, and more conscious of social effect. Secondly, belief that i t is the responsibility 17 of the individual author, free of organisational direction, to interpret the r e a l i t i e s of social l i f e . In this respect i t is the opposite of its "social" counterpart, and i t is for this that many of its proponents have found themselves the targets of Party censure. The intellectual process here is deductive, with conclusions being drawn from an author's perception of his material rather than derived from a received vision. In cases where Party-imposed strictures on the arts have been l i f t e d to allow the flourishing of "self-oriented writing, (as in the Hundred Flowers of 1956, the "blooming and contending" of 1961-2, or the post-Mao "ideological liberation"), the results have often been pessimistic, and involved revelation of social evils perceived as prevalent or flourishing in socialist society. Especially in the most recent period, the literature of the "self" has been manifested in the recounting of tragedies of individual suffering, many of them wrought by the injustice and disequilibrium of the Cultural Revolution. In these works, loss of confidence in the proper working of the social order has undermined belief in "just deserts" and resulted in fictional works in which the hypocritical and unjust secure power by destroying the righteous and innocent.^ All this is not to say that the tendency towards the "self" i s of necessity anti-communist; indeed the most celebrated of the writers who were ostracised for their non-"social" (or "anti-Party") writings in 1956 and who returned to write in the same vein after 1978 (Liu Binyan, Bai Hua, Wang Meng) protest their loyalty to the Party, 18 of which they are reinstated members. It i s simply that they reserve the right, and assert the duty, of the author to present reality as he sees i t , independent of official interpretations of current social conditions and tendencies. Writers who feel responsible to their own consciences and to their (generally well-educated) peer-groups, rather than to a broad and somewhat nebulous "mass" audience, are the ones who experiment with form. The post-Mao "stream of consciousness" (yishi liu) fic t i o n and "shadows" (menglong) poetry have both been accused of inaccessibility and obscurantism, but their authors are anything but irresponsible. Wang Meng, the leading exponent of "stream of consciousness" writing, has emphasised social responsiblity as a main theme of his work,^ and a sense of responsibility has been seen as the "motivating force" of the "shadows" poet Bei Dao.48 "Society" and "self" offer contrasting viewpoints on the momentous changes that have taken place in the People's Republic of China. Faced with the upheaval of a g r i c u l t u r a l c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n , the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the adoption of the responsibility system, etc., should the author show how men can best contribute to, and benefit from the realisation of these policies (the "social" approach)? Or should he rather concentrate on the effects, beneficial or injurious, on the individual (the "self") as he has himself observed them in the course of p o l i t i c a l and social 1 9 change? The final chapter of this study offers a comparison of two novels which describe urban youths dispatched to the countryside in the mass rustications of the Cultural Revolution. To the "social" novelist, rustication offers a youngster the chance to prove himself in heroic and patriotic endeavour; for the author who concentrates on the "self," the story is one of futility and alienation in a cruel environment. In the literature of the Cultural Revolution, we are dealing with a literature that is overwhelmingly "social" in i t s approach, or, to use the terminology of the alternative frameworks outined above, i t is a "vehicle" for the "morality" of communism, produced by authors who are "cogs" in the machinery of the state, unambiguously following a Party line and displaying a strong bias towards "romanticism" of the "revolutionary" kind. Yet "society" and " s e l f " do not have to be mutually exclusive; in fact, in the view of literature presented by Mao among the cave-dwellings of Yan'an in 1942 and often reiterated, the apparently contradictory qualities demanded of the arts (accessibility and refinement, praise and exposure, etc.), have been seen as complementary goals for the arti s t to pursue. So while the Cultural Revolution literature examined in this study is determinedly "social," i t is not obliged thereby to ignore the sensitivities of the author or eliminate concern for the individual. Yet this i s frequently the case: for a work to satisfy the demands of "society" and "self" in post-1949 China would be as great an achievement for i t s time and place as "The 20 Pearl-sewn Shirt" represents for the vernacular story of the seventeenth century. Though the balance i s maintained in extensive passages of one Cultural Revolution novel, Hao Ran's The Golden Road (Jinguang dadao),^ none of the "social" works considered here meets these demands throughout, and most f a l l well short of this standard. III. The Literary Mirror The metaphor of the mirror, which provides the t i t l e for this study, is central to Chinese theories of narrative writing, be the mirror a bronze one (jian) or a glass (jingzi). It i s implicit in the reflection (fanying) of l i f e that is cited by most critics in China as the function of literature.^ Communist literary critics can further point to Lenin's characterisation of Tolstoy as "the mirror of the Russian revolution."^ For the Confucian, history proceeded in an ordered cycle, the flourishing and decay of moral force reflected in the rise and f a l l of dynastic houses. The past repeated i t s e l f , lessons for present rulers being furnished from the conduct of their predecessors. The concept of history as a "comprehensive mirror to assist government" existed well before Sima Guang enshrined i t in the t i t l e of his multi-dynastic chronicle Zizhi tong.jian in CO the eleventh century. The justification for recording the past was moral as much as mimetic, praising the ancients for their virtue and censuring their evil as a guide to present and future rulers. The moral pattern that gives shape to the dynastic 21 histories is the same one that informs Feng Menglong's fictional world; their thesis is that Confucian propriety is the key to the satisfactory working of society. To a staunch anti-Confucian like Lu Xun, expressing himself through the perceptive madman of his first vernacular story, the morality of the histories was a rationale for cannibalism. Factuality was not sacrosanct in historical writing. It could be sacrificed in support of a righteous judgment, or the record could be distorted on the insistence of a prescient sovereign concerned for his place in history. Belief in the contemporary significance of past events has made historical analogy a powerful weapon in literary and p o l i t i c a l writing. Thus, for example, the turpitude of the Sui Emperor Yangdi was used by a seventeenth-century author as an allegory for the declining Ming dynasty.-^ Debates over current policy have often been fought through historical proxy; the criticism of the Great Leap Forward which provoked the f i r s t salvo of the Cultural Revolution was Wu Han's Hai Rui Dismissed from Office (Hai Rui ba  guan), a drama set in the Ming dynasty.-'-' And in the early post-Mao years, contemporary themes of rehabilitation of disgraced leaders, righteous resistance to oppression, etc., were a l l explored in historical dramas.^ The past as mirrored in communist historiography illustrates the progression of human society in the stages described by Marx and Engels. Mao Zedong shared with many of his predecessors as rulers of China the desire to have the record of the distant and 22 recent past reflect his current interests. Orwell's axiom of totalitarianism that "who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past,"-^ was implicit in Chinese theories of government well before 1949, and has been much in evidence since. Mirrors in Chinese narratives, like "realist" writings in the modern period, have often served as the conveyors of unpalatable truth. A recent essay by a Chinese critic cites two examples where the harbinger of doom was held responsible for the image: Simply because mirrors reflect the real state of affairs, there have been repeated cases, from ancient times to the present day, of people venting their spleen on mirrors. As the annals record: Xiahou Yuan of Cao [Cao's state of] Wei was struck in the l e f t eye by a stray arrow; when he saw this in a mirror he became furious and hurled the mirror to the ground. Another case from the annals: Zhang Yu of the state of Shu was adept in the techniques of physiognomy. Whenever he picked up a mirror, he could see in his own face that he would die by execution, which was tough on the mirrors, since he smashed them. Xiahou Yuan really was a one-eyed dragon, Zhang Yu truly had a doomed visage, neither of which was the mirror's doing. Therefore we should rehabilitate the maligned mirrors: they were not guilty. 58 Perhaps the most celebrated mirror in Chinese literature is the occult "mirror for the romantic" (fengyue baojian) which hastens the demise of the lovelorn Jia Rui in chapter 12 of The Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). It is presented to the ailing youth by the peripatetic limping Daoist with s t r i c t instructions to look only at the reverse. This is the side that shows him his true destiny, a death's-head. The obverse i s his 23 erotic fantasy, the beckoning image of Wang Xifeng and the consummation of his sexual desires. Over-indulgence in the latter reflection leads swiftly to the young rake's demise. When his grand-father, seeing him bewitched, tried to destroy the mirror, i t is snatched from the f i r e by i t s donor, who lays the blame with those who "took falsehood as truth" rather than with u- • 59 his mirror. Like the definitions of realism, the mirror metaphor has been used to support varying views of the arts: as the reflection of underlying and archetypal truth, or as the literal reflection of the world as i t is. Mao demanded interpretative reflection in his Yan'an "Talks" (in the celebrated l i u geng "six even mores" passage), and insistence on a s o c i a l i s t view of things outweighed concern with factuality in theoretical writings on literary truth in the period under study here. As expressed by Yao Wenyuan in his rebuttal of the calls for truthful writing by those condemned as "rightists" in the late 1950's: we need truth, but i t only that kind of truth that i s p o l i t i c a l l y correct, that r e f l e c t s the fundamental laws of li f e , that we are in need of. 60 That the literary mirror held up by Yao and his associates presented a grotesque distortion, and not a correct synthesis of truth, has been a major criticism in subsequent writings. Here we will quote from two of the defenders of the more literal than interpretative mirror, twenty years after Yao's attacks on their "rightist" ideas. First Liu Binyan, who used the metaphor in his speech to the Fourth Congress of Writers and Artists in 1979 in 2 4 defense of his own reportage: ... literature is a mirror. When the mirror shows us things i n l i f e that are not very pretty, or that f a l l short of our ideals, i t is wrong to blame the mirror. Instead we should root out and destroy those conditions that disappoint us. Mirrors show us the true appearance of things; literary mirrors speed the progress of society. Smashing a mirror is no way to make an ugly person beautiful, nor is i t a way to make s o c i a l problems evaporate. History has shown that i t is better not to veil or to smash literary mirrors. Isn't this truth a l l too clear from the extended period of time in which our realist tradition in literature was dragged toward an evil dead end? 61 Secondly, Bai Hua, who was himself shortly to discover the limits (in of Party tolerance of revelations of injustice; he articulated the accusation made by many of the rehabilitated "rightists," that in their twenty year ostracism, practising writers had lied to the people to ingratiate themselves with the Party leadership. He complained that, from the Great Leap Forward on: literature beautified the sins of boasting and exaggeration, turning them into illustrations of the superiority of the socialist system. If writers had instead taken a more personal approach, pondering life's questions and writing according to their own feelings, then they might well have written works which truly reflected l i f e and played a role i n the rectification of current policies. 63 If we look through the eyes of these "rightists," outsiders in the Cultural Revolution, we see the artists who flourished during the period beguiled into "social" writing by the forbidden obverse of the mirror, gazing at the beckoning i l l u s i o n of a Maoist Utopia, and avoiding the death's-head that was the truth facing the nation. Clearly this is a picture that suits the interests of its authors, since their two heydays appear as noble 25 exceptions to a dismal rule. Less self-serving, and more succinct, are the two lines that comprise the stanza on art in the poem "Notes from the City of the Sun" (Taiyang cheng zhaji) by Bei Dao, who was barely nine years old at the time of the anti-rightist campaign: A million scintillating suns appear in a shattered mirror 64 I believe that Bei Dao means here the literary mirror referred to above, smashed by those who could not face a true image and reflecting instead an illusory brightness. If so, i t is a trenchant criticism of the literature of the first three decades of the People's Republic, which culminated, during the Cultural Revolution, in a literature so concerned with presenting the Party's view of society that i t lost contact with manifest social realities. IV. Outline of the Present Study The criticisms cited above are relevant here in that they relate d i r e c t l y to the l i t e r a r y product of the Cultural Revolution. The shocking and tragic revelations of the persecution of literary figures during the Cultural Revolution which surfaced in the late 1970's, while of significance in the intellectual and social history of modern China, are beyond the purview of this study; some appropriate references are appended in a footnote. Similarly, the history of the period, which has been described elsewhere, w i l l not be provided except as i t relates to the content of specific literary works. The Cultural Revolution is an easily definable period, beginning with Yao Wenyuan's attack on Wu Han's drama in November of 1965, and ending eleven years later with the death of Mao and the arrest of the "Gang of Four" (sirenbang) in September/October 1976. In literature the f i r s t five years (1966-71), saw the establishment of rules for creation, and the refinement of the Model Works (yangbanxi); otherwise, almost a l l literary publication was suspended.^ Publication of other literary works resumed in the second half of the Cultural Revolution (1971-6) and the short stories of the period are considered in an article 68 by David Pollard. ° For this study, examples have been selected from novels, which have, with one or two exceptions, been ignored by Western scholars:^ 9 from the f i r s t , History of Battles at  Hongnan (Hongnan zuo zhan shi),^° released in February 1972, to the last, Hundred Blossom Valley (Baihuachuan),^1 published the month of the death of Mao Zedong. The novels analysed here are a l l set in the Chinese countryside. This i s not to say that there were no novels with industrial, military or educational settings, but the choice of rural f i c t i o n i s the obvious one. The Chinese countryside is home to eighty percent of the nation, and its many changes since 1949 have provided the setting for many of the best novels written under communist rule; rural fiction is also the metier of Hao Ran, indisputably the foremost author to survive from the pre-1966 years and write in the Cultural Revolution. 27 The first two chapters below deal with communist literary theory from the 1920's to the 1960's. Chapter 1 traces the assertion of the need for a communist viewpoint and the justification for Party control in the arts from the early years of the Communist Party to the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Attention i s paid to Mao's "Talks," consideration of which is indispensible for any study of communist literature in China. Chapter 2 covers Cultural Revolution literary theory as defined by Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing in the mid-1960's. From i t will be discerned the parameters within which literary creation was practised in the subsequent decade. It w i l l be seen that the demands placed on authors to convey a "social" message supportive of Communist Party policy, already evident in the polemical writings of Qian Xingcun in the late 1920's, were extended and enforced by Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing forty years later. Chapter 3 deals with the first literary realisation of the theory of the preceding chapter. Examined are the development to the status of literary exemplars, and the common features, of the Model Operas. The operas, purportedly the triumphant combination of socialist content with a r t i s t i c excellence, set a standard that a l l l i t e r a t u r e was obliged to follow, in their reinterpretation of history and society, in their depiction of revolutionary heroism, and in their strict ordering of character and event. The remainder of the study, chapters 4-7, examines novels produced within the theoretical parameters established above and 28 adhering to the opera model. The f i r s t of these, analysed in chapter 4, i s History of Battles at Hongnan, a novel of extreme orthodoxy produced by a c o l l e c t i v e authorship in close collaboration with Party leadership. It presents the a g r i c u l t u r a l c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n of the early 1950's in a perspective that reflects the Cultural Revolution rewriting of modern Chinese history, the elite struggle between a collectivist Mao Zedong and an individualist Liu Shaoqi being enacted within the microcosm of a single village in suburban Shanghai. In chapter 5, the historical period is the same, but the scene shifts to Hebei Province for Hao Ran's The Golden Road, which is generally acknowledged as the best novel of the Cultural 7 2 Revolution. It w i l l be shown that Hao Ran, while keeping within existing guidelines and following the opera model, s t i l l retained the concern for the material and emotional welfare of the individual peasant that had characterised his earlier work. Chapter 6 presents another novel by the same author at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Hundred Blossom Valley has a contemporary setting, and supports not the general "social" goals of the Communist Party, or i t s revision of the past, but the ongoing ambitions of one (apparently dominant) group within the Party's Central Committee. It is representative of the factional literature of the fi n a l months of the Cultural Revolution, supporting the claims of Jiang Qing and her colleagues to succession, which was later condemned as "conspiratorial." For Hao Ran, i t represents a low point in a distinguished career. 29 The overriding concern with "social" goals which pervades Cultural Revolution literature is contrasted in the final chapter with the return, in the literature of the late 1970's, to a focus on the "self." This is done through comparison of two novels reflecting a major social movement of the period: the rustication of urban youth. Guo Xianhong's 1973 novel The Journey  (Zhengtu) takes a young hero and his band of followers from Shanghai to action-packed struggle on the Soviet border; Zhu Lin's The Path of Life (Shenghuo de l u ) 7 Z > (1979) is the tragic tale of one c i t y g i r l stranded in an alienating r u r a l environment. The contrast in mood between the pre- and post-1976 novels is startling; the rhetorical conventions of Cultural Revolution f i c t i o n are reversed by an author holding up to the reader the frightening reverse side of the historical mirror. 30 CHAPTER 1 THE ASSERTION OF PARTY CONTROL;  FROM QIAN XINGCUN TO MAO ZEDONG Just as the Cultural Revolution, as a p o l i t i c a l and social movement, was justified largely by i t s association with Mao Zedong, so the attempted cultural transformation drew i t s authority from Mao's writings on the arts. Foremost among these are his "Talks at the Yan'an Forum on the Arts" (Zai Yan'an  wenyi zuotanhui shang de jianghua)1 — hereafter "Talks." At the heart of Mao's "Talks" is the demand that writers subject the licence of the individual intellectual to the discipline of serving society and the Communist Party that governs i t ; a subjection that of necessity entailed a break with the subjective, individualistic and pessimistic^ May Fourth tradition, and the production instead of partisan, populist and motivational works. The "Talks" were a specific and decisive response on Mao's part to debates at Yan'an concerning the function of art and the role of the art i s t in a s o c i a l i s t Chinese society, and have been since their enunciation the basis for Communist Party policy in these matters. Though the revisionist literary historians of the Cultural Revolution presented Mao's formulation of literary policy at Yan'an as an unprecedented act of genius, there were in fact antecedents within the Communist Party since the Party's establishment in the 1920's. This historical context 31 will be provided below, with an outline of the revolutionary literary activity of nationalist Shanghai and the communist Jiangxi Soviet, before consideration of Yan'an, the "Talks" and Mao's limited subsequent pronouncements on the arts. The focus of literary conflict since Yan'an has been functional rather than formal; for a Maoist vision of forms the arts should adopt, we must look elsewhere than the "Talks," to the discussions of National Forms (minzu xingshi) at Yan'an and their manifestations in the l i t e r a r y works produced thereafter under communist control. I. Before Yan'an i) Shanghai One of the first tasks facing the fledgling Communist Party in the 1920's was to establish itself as the vanguard of the literary and intellectual revolution that had found dramatic expression in the months surrounding the nationalistic demonstrations of May 4, 1919. The May Fourth movement was a tide for social change which the Party sought to channel in directions commensurable with the proletarian revolution that had brought the Communist Party to power in Russia. Among the earliest May Fourth intelligentsia to transform themselves from Sturm und Drang romanticism to revolutionary idealism were the youthful members of the Shanghai-based Sun and 32 Creation societies (Taiyang she, Chuangzao she). Attacks by one of their number, Qian Xingcun (alias Aying) on the leading l e f t i s t writers Lu Xun and Mao Dun exemplify the earnest and often inept attempts made by spokesmen for the Communist Party to propel the literary l e f t towards a "social" literature in the decisive years between the decimation of the Party after the purges of 1927^ and the formation of the League of Left-wing Writers (zuolian) in 1930. Qian Xingcun's espousal of Marxism (he became a Party member in 1926) led him to demand works of literature that would agitate a popular audience to revolutionary activism, and he found the fiction of both Lu Xun and Mao Dun unsuited to this mission. He criticised the stories of Lu Xun's two collections Call to Arms  (Nahan) and Hesitation (Panghuang) as more likely to depress than inspire young readers. Lu Xun himself was dismissed as a pitiful petty-bourgeois, the product, like his most enduring creation A Q, of a bygone age."* The case made against Mao Dun's Eclipse (Shi) trilogy was that its characters were hapless victims of an ineluctable fate rather than proud masters of their own destiny as Qian Xingcun would have them be. Eclipse, Mao Dun's f i r s t f i c t i o n , written in 1927-8, presents the reactions of young intellectuals to momentous contemporary events: in the first part, Disillusion (Huanmie), every hope of a g i r l student is dashed; in Vacillation  (Dongyao), an official suffers for his inability to decide between political and romantic alternatives; and the young 33 graduates of Pursuit (Zhuiqiu) f a i l in their attempts to f u l f i l l themselves through education, journalism or hedonism.^ The author defended the bleakness of his fiction as an accurate reflection of his own mood: I can only, therefore, t e l l the truth: I ain rather disillusioned, I am pessimistic, I am depressed, and I express these feelings in the three novelettes without the slightest disguise. 7 The individualistic realism of literature implicit in Mao Dun's self-defence was unacceptable to Qian Xingcun, who used his essay on Mao Dun as a platform for his own views on the function of the arts. In a style that has been characterised as o "deduced, dogmatic and very aggressive," Qian advocated an agitational "proletarian literature" (the term was a recent import from Japan) wherein the writer would function as the mouthpiece of the masses (rather than speaking for himself alone) and "observe the world through the eyes of the proletarian vanguard"9 (the Communist Party). Neither Lu Xun nor Mao Dun was a Party member at the time of Qian's attacks, 1 0 and his exhortations did not succeed in turning them into propagandists for Party policies; however his stern demands for a " s o c i a l " l i t e r a t u r e and strident tone are significant in their anticipation of the rhetoric of later years when the words of Party spokesmen were to carry greater force. Qian's vituperation was silenced in the interests of solidarity in 1930, when the Communist Party succeeded in uniting the squabbling progressives of Shanghai around the common cause of resisting imperialism with the formation of the League of Left-wing Writers. The setting-up of the League was the Party's f i r s t success in gaining leadership of progressive intellectuals, and was a component in the changing climate of opinion that brought the communists to victory. Symbolic of this new unity (albeit tenuous) was the appearance of Lu Xun and Qian Xingcun (with Xia Yan) as joint chairmen of the League's inaugural meeting. Under the guidance of Qu Qiubai (from 1931-4), the League maintained a more or less united front, but i t s f r a g i l i t y was shown in 1936. In that year, Communist Party policy changed from confrontation with the Nationalists to alliance with a l l anti-Japanese forces, and the League was disbanded; the leftist literati were called upon to adhere to the new line by producing works emphasising patriotism rather than class or p o l i t i c a l a f f i l i a t i o n . The clumsy and arbitrary methods used by Party spokesman Zhou Yang e_t a_l to win Lu Xun over to the new "National Defense Literature" (guofang wenxue) led to a series of bitter exchanges in the last months of Lu Xun's l i f e . Zhou Yang's unsubstantiated denunciation of Lu Xun's acolyte Hu Feng as a traitor led Lu Xun to "start distrusting and even detesting those young men like Zhou Qiying [Zhou Yang] who like to slander others." The failure of Zhou Yang and his associates to impose discipline on the question of National Defense Literature was an instructive one for the Communist Party: i t showed that autonomous l e f t i s t s like Lu Xun, potent force in opposing corrupt regimes as they may be, do not lightly alter cherished 35 opinions to accommodate changes in Party policy. When the conflict between independence and discipline resurfaced in Yan'an, the Party was to attempt by means of the rectification campaign, to transform the literary intelligentsia. i i ) Jiangxi No such problems of disciplining established writers into supporting Party policies confronted the leadership of the embattled Jiangxi Soviet; the problem was rather one of bringing revolutionary literature and art to an i l l i t e r a t e peasant populace. Qu Qiubai served as Commissar of Education to the Soviet after his arrival from Shanghai in January 1934 until he was l e f t behind on the evacuation of the Soviet the following year. Despite the brevity of his tenure, Qu played a major role in shaping the literary policies of the Soviet, and thereby contributed greatly to the views Mao was to formulate at Yan'an.14 In the early 1930's in Shanghai, Qu Qiubai had expressed his view that the May Fourth movement had failed to produce a truly popular literature. Instead, he saw the new generation of revolutionary writers as a Westernised e l i t e , producing works accessible only to their own kind, and alienated from any mass audience by their class (petty-bourgeois), their language (Europeanised baihua vernacular) and the inaccesibility of their writings. The "proletarian May Fourth" that Qu demanded would require a transformation of the artists, from bourgeois to proletarian revolutionaries, and their works, from el i t e to popular. In the case of the artists, this was to involve abandonment of patronising attitudes towards the proletariat and protracted experience of the l i f e and language of the popular audience. As for their works, the literature of the "proletarian May Fourth" was to be written in the common language (putonghua) of the people; i t was to have as i t s content their "actual revolutionary struggle;" and i t was to derive its form from popular styles with which the audience was already familiar. Thus, two years before his departure for Jiangxi, Qu Qiubai envisaged that, for example, the stories of The Water Margin (Shuihu zhuan) could be recycled to dramatise the exploits of the heroes of the Soviet.1-' To the extent that the scanty source materials now available on the literature of the Jiangxi Soviet permit conclusions, i t can be seen that a popular agitational literature of the kind that Qu had advocated did in fact emerge. The inhabitants of the Soviet were presented with works arising out of the struggle for survival, in forms ranging from spoken drama to local folk-songs. New words were set to traditional love-songs to t e l l of wives sending husbands off to war; and a policy statement by army commander Zhu De and political commissar Mao Zedong was written in doggerel.1** The organisation of artists (on which Qu had not spoken) was styled on Soviet practice. For example, drama was taught at the Gorky Drama School and performed by "blue-denimed troupes" 37 modelled on similar groups in the Soviet Union. Most of the writer-performers were extremely young, had no previous reputation and were not identified with the May Fourth movement.^ Consequently they could easily adapt to meet the immediate needs of the Soviet for propaganda in what Qu called "traditional popular forms." Although Qu Qiubai himself was depressed at the last by the gulf that had existed between himself and the peasantry he had tried to serve, much experience had in fact been gained in the Jiangxi Soviet, both in terms of the organisation of the arts and the recycling of traditional forms in service of the political needs of the moment. On a theoretical and practical level, Qu Qiubai had provided a model for the literary policy that the Party was to adopt at the other end of the Long March. II. Yan'an i) Mao and the "Literary Opposition" By 1942, the year of the Yan'an Forum and the rectification campaign, Mao Zedong had established himself firmly as the leader of the Communist Party. He had been actively engaged in revolutionary war for fifteen years and had been Party Chairman for seven. Furthermore he had, in 1941, staved off a challenge to his leadership from Wang Ming and the Soviet-trained "twenty-eight bolsheviks."^ At Yan'an, he had begun the synthesis of the theoretical system that became known as "Mao Zedong thought" 38 by combining the Marxism he had read (largely in the writings of Lenin and Stalin) and learned from colleagues with his own 2 0 experiences as a revolutionary. The empirical combines with the theoretical in Mao's Yan'an essay "On Practice" (Shijian 9 I lun) with which he defended himself against those at Yan'an (whom he called dogmatists) returning from their Party education in the Soviet Union believing that they were better qualified than he to lead the Chinese revolution. This practicality is evident in his attitude to the arts. The sources of Mao's views on the arts are twofold: f i r s t , his own reading preferences and literary practice, and secondly theories inherited from the Soviet Union from translations or through such intermediaries as Qu Qiubai (in Jiangxi), Zhou Yang and Chen Boda (at Yan'an). His "literary world" 2 2 w i l l be considered first. Though Mao acknowledged his indebtedness to the May Fourth movement and praised its anti-imperialism, he was, like Qu Qiubai, unimpressed with the literature that i t had produced, finding i t insipid and remote from the realities of Chinese society. His own preference, as expressed in the autobiography dictated to Edgar Snow, was for the tales of The Water Margin and Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi yanyi): "What I enjoyed were the romances of old China, and especially stories of rebellions ... I believe that perhaps I was much influenced by these books, read at an early age. J It is not surprising that the May Fourth writer he most appreciated was Lu 39 Xun. Lu Xun was a more traditional, and less Europeanised, writer than his younger associates. His best fiction is set in small-town central China around the time of the collapse of the Qing dynasty, and depicts struggling tradesmen, insecure intellectuals and other typical characters from late imperial and early republican China that Mao would have known well. So i t was precisely the traditionalism that Qian Xingcun abhorred that made Lu Xun's writing accessible to Mao. Mao's disdain for most May Fourth writing should not be seen as absolute anti-intellectulism on his part. Certainly he had less than fond memories of the Westernised elite who had spurned him as a young provincial during his sojourn in Beijing, and whom he decried in the "Talks" as "remote and uncomprehending" towards the masses they affected to lead. He mistrusted the humanistic individualism of the Lu Xun disciples who came to Yan'an, and resented their pretentions to leading roles in the artistic l i f e of the liberated areas independent from the control of Party Central. Yet Mao clearly saw himself as an intellectual and artist on a par with the best of them by virtue of his poetry, and their senior as a revolutionary. In his poem "Snow" (Xue), Mao had portrayed himself as a warrior-leader of the stature of Qin Shihuang, Tang Taizong and Ghengis Khan, yet surpassing them a l l as an "exceptional character" (fengliu renwu) with his greater literary cultivation. Mao's literary theories were profoundly u t i l i t a r i a n . 40 From the Stalinist interpretation of Lenin's "Party Organisation and Party Literature"^ he took the view that the arts were a component in the overall activities of the revolutionary Party (the "cog and screw" theory mentioned in the introduction). In this respect, Mao was both a Stalinist and a traditional Chinese leader; as John K. Fairbank has observed of imperial China: "print was to be used in the service of orthodoxy as 97 judged by the political authorities. Mao's views on the arts f a l l within the mainstream of Chinese pragmatism as defined by James J. Y. Liu, as "a means to achieve political, social, moral no or educational purposes. Much of what Mao had to say on the future development of the arts and the role of the artists was derived from Qu Qiubai. The "national scientific mass culture" Mao associated with new-democracy was strikingly similar to Qu's "proletarian May Fourth." Both men saw the need for intellectuals to transform their ideology and their language to bring them closer to the majority of the population, and maintained that long-term integration of intellectuals among the masses was the only way that this could be achieved. Furthermore, both advocated that art for a popular audience should be in a form with which that audience could identify. Mao's indebtedness to Qu Qiubai was considerable; indeed, Qu Qiubai's p o l i t i c a l biographer Paul G. Pickowicz observes that: "first, while the ideas of Mao and Qu are by no means identical, Mao said very l i t t l e that had not been said already by Qu. Second, and perhaps more 41 significant, where their views differ, Qu seems to have adopted the more radical positions. Mao's formulation of policies for the arts in 1942 came as a direct response to the views of a group of intellectuals whom Gregor Benton has described as a Yan'an " l i t e r a r y opposition,"J1 whose members included Ding Ling, Xiao Jun, Ai Qing and Wang Shiwei. In addition to their long and often bitter experiences of revolutionary activity in the Nationalist-controlled "white" areas, the first three named also had considerable literary reputations. They may well have regarded themselves as heirs to the legacy of Lu Xun and the natural leaders of modern Chinese literature, positions which Mao, while welcoming them to Yan'an, was unprepared to cede to them. Their criticism of the Yan'an leadership, and implicitly Mao, was contained in articles many of which appeared in the "literature column" of the Yan'an newspaper Liberation Daily (Jiefang ribao). Their essays included criticisms of inequities existing at Yan'an (which need not concern us here), and, crucially to the present discussion, views on art and the artist incompatible with those of Mao, Zhou Yang and Chen Boda. They believed, f i r s t , in the right of the a r t i s t to express himself without fear of p o l i t i c a l intervention: "Apart from creative freedom," Ai Qing wrote in "Understand Authors, Respect Authors" (Liao jie zuo.jia, zunzhong zuojia), "authors demand no privileges." 3 3 Secondly, separation of the roles 42 of "Politicians and Artists" (Zhengzhijia yishujia) was demanded by Wang Shiwei. Wang held that politicans should concern themselves with human society, artists with the human soul, and that neither should meddle in the other's territory. (Wang's argument is disingenuous, in that, while decrying the meddling of politicians in the arts, he is reserving the right to intervene in politics himself.) Wang suggested that politicians who gained control of the arts would use them for self-aggrandisement, while artists could be relied upon to act with integrity. Thirdly, i t was the duty of the artist to expose the "darkness" (hei'an) i.e., injustices, harmful practices and attitudes, as Wang and Ding Ling had done in their criticisms of Yan'an lif e . Wang Shiwei maintained that i t was more important for artists to purge the uncleanliness of the individual and their own society than to "turn the guns outward" (qiangkou xiang wai) by c r i t i c i s i n g the enemy. Ai Qing saw the artist as a surgeon of the soul, wielding a scalpel to lance spiritual i l l s rather than soothing his patients with palliatives. The scalpel recommended for the purpose by Ding Ling and Luo Feng was the incisive zawen essay used by Lu Xun against his opponents in Shanghai. i i ) The "Talks" The humanism, individualism and desire for autonomy of these authors typified those aspects of May Fourth thinking that Mao wished to see transformed. The '*Talks" are Mao's refutation. 4 3 The familiarity of the "Talks", and the availability of Bonnie S. McDougall's judicious commentary on the earliest text extant, make further extensive analysis unnecessary. Here we will concentrate only on what Mao had to say about the function of the arts and the role of the artist. a. Function of the Arts What then is the crux of the matter? In my view i t consists fundamentally of the problems of working for the masses and how to work for the masses. 39 Thus Mao, early in his concluding speech to the Forum, sought to define the tasks facing the authors of the base areas. The "masses" he defined as workers, peasants and soldiers, adding to these groups the revolutionary cadres in his introduction and the petty-bourgeoisie in his conclusion. In terms of how these groups were to be served, Mao emphasised political c r i t e r i a : the arts were to be subordinate to politics and should serve goals defined by p o l i t i c a l leaders — in the present case unity under Party leadership in resistance to Japan. This i s , of course, a direct contrast with Wang Shiwei's preferred separation of politics from art, as Mao's audience was doubtless aware. Unlike Wang, Mao did wish to "turn the guns outwards" focussing criticism on the enemy while emphasising the positive at Yan'an. The vital fourth section of Mao's conclusion, ostensibly on the importance of the p o l i t i c a l criterion in literary criticism, was in fact a systematic refutation of the views 4 4 of the literary opposition, particularly of Wang Shiwei's "Politicians and Artists."^ Mao rejected humanism and love of mankind as starting-points for artistic creation, and countered by saying that in a class society, class differences define inter-personal relations and override abstract considerations of humanity and love. Rejecting Wang's notion of the arts as responsible for exposing the inequities of Yan'an society, Mao proposed that, instead, praise (gesong) should be directed towards the people and the Party, despite their shortcomings, while exposure (baolu) should be almost exclusively reserved for the enemy. Further, Mao specifically ruled out the use of the zawen essay that Ding Ling and Luo Feng had advocated. The nature of the zawen had been as a means to expose the evils of an unjust society in which the writers had lived, and, to Mao, the different nature of 1930's Shanghai and 1940's Yan'an rendered the form obsolete. Mao's utilitarianism i s at i t s plainest here: what is not appropriate to the Party's cause, even i f cherished by writers and associated with Lu Xun, must be done away with. The dialectical nature of Mao's thinking on the function of the arts is evident in references to "accessibility" (puji) and "refinement" (tigao), terms which are elsewhere rendered "popularisation" and "raising standards." Given the practical constraints imposed by the scant education of the popular audience, and the relative success of the Jiangxi Soviet's literary policies in agitational terms, Mao opted for 45 "accessibility" in bringing a motivational message to the largest possible numbers, but s t i l l stressed the need for immediate "refinement" of works intended for cadres and students and future large-scale "refinement" to meet the changing needs of a better educated mass audience. Mao's insistence on the subordination of the arts to politics, and indeed his calling of the Yan'an Forum in the first place, t e s t i f y to his recognition of the power of art, especially when i t is of high aesthetic quality, to inspire or depress its audience. Like Lenin, Mao saw that under his control, the arts could be invaluable to the revolution and the cause of the Communist Party; and that conversely, art was too powerful a weapon to be left in the hands of independent humanists like the literary opposition. An inherent problem was that to produce Party literature of the required quality for the workers, peasants and soldiers, the services of intellectuals, most of whom were of petty-bourgeois origins, was essential, b. Role of the Artist Implicit in Mao's "Talks" was the recognition that, for the time being at least, literature and art were to be provided for the masses by an educated elite. The l i f e of the masses was to provide the raw material for the arts, but Mao did not see the masses themselves giving that material artistic shape. The artist's role was to process l i f e into elegant literary form for the masses to appreciate. In the "Talks," the people who produce art are referred to as "workers in the arts" (wenyi gongzuozhe), in preference to Ai Qing's "authors" (zuojia) or Wang Shiwei"s "artists" (yishujia). Mao perceived the artist as a literary artisan, reworking material under his master's watchful eye, rather than a revered professional, the engineer of the human soul or the spiritual surgeon. In this context, Mao refuted Wang's description of Lu Xun as a lonely titan struggling bitterly with his own impurities, and presented him instead fiercely defying the enemy and humbly serving the people. (Both are plausible analyses of limited aspects of Lu Xun's complex character, selected to support opposite positions; Mao and Wang both sought, as have many others in subsequent literary debates, to bring the shade of Lu Xun on side.)^ Mao's attempt to define the character of the literary form given to l i f e required from the reshaping of l i f e into art is contained in a resounding, i f imprecise, passage which was later used to justify the Cultural Revolution policy regarding the portrayal of pre-eminent heroes; i t came to be known as the "six even mores" (liu geng): l i f e as reflected in a work of art can and should be even more l o f t y , even more intense, even more concentrated, even more typical, even more ideal and thus even more universal than actual ordinary l i f e . 42 How were intellectuals who were (in Mao's opinion) unfamiliar with and patronising towards the masses be persuaded to assume the role that Mao had in mind for them? Mao's answer 47 to this question was the same as had been Qu Qiubai's a decade earlier: by transforming their thinking and their language. This was to be achieved by thorough study of approved texts of Marxism-Leninism and by protracted contact with the workers, peasants and soldiers. In a conciliatory passage in the introduction to the "Talks," Mao offered his own example as an instance of the way this transformation from petty-bourgeois to proletarian ideology, and from alienation from the masses to acceptance by them, could come about. Mao's emphasis on the study of Marxism-Leninism was sterner in his conclusion, probably in response to the objection raised by Ouyang Shan the previous year that study of revolutionary theory was s t i f l i n g to creativity; Mao insisted that he certainly wanted to see destroyed those creative impulses that were "feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, liberal, individual, n i h i l i s t , art-for-art's-sake, a r i s t o c r a t i c , decadent, pessimistic." 4 4 For Mao, there was no contradiction between orthodoxy (correctness) and creativity. These latter comments by Mao are a clear condemnation of the May Fourth style of writing in which the members of the "literar-y opposition" were well versed; for example, many of the epithets used by Mao, in language reminiscent of Qian Xingcun, to describe undesirable creative impulses could legitimately be applied to Mao Dun's Eclipse trilogy or Ding Ling's famous story "Diary of Miss Sophie" (Shafei nifshi de  r i j i ) . 4 ^ With the conditions Mao prescribed for art and the 4 8 artist under Communist Party control, May Fourth-style writing could not long survive at Yan'an. (Many commentators writing in the West have decried the "Talks" for their rejection of May Fourth writing. For C. T. Hsia, "in repudiating the Western tradition in modern Chinese literature [the Talks] ... reversed the course of that literature and kil l e d i t s potential for future development."4^ Hsia implies here that the West provided the only possible source for the development of Chinese literature; his own eminent analysis of China's classic fiction (inter alia) refutes this by demonstrating the wealth of the indigenous tradition. One may infer that his remarks on the "Talks" are emotional outburst as much as scholarly conclusion. More pertinent is the contention of his brother T. A. Hsia that Mao, in his "Talks", harmed the arts by taking them away from the individual and giving them to the Party. 4^ Mao did indeed maintain that those individualists who were challenging his authority could not be relied upon to produce works adhering to the cr i t e r i a he had set forth: supporting the war effort, engendering confidence in the Communist Party, etc. T. A. Hsia's objections are the more cogent in that their focus is on the effect of the "Talks" not at Yan'an, but after the establishment of the People's Republic. He points out that the application of the "Talks" have been far more illiberal and dogmatic than the original text i t s e l f ; Hsia's observation, madeinl962, i s prophetic of the puritanical 49 readings of the text prevalent during the Cultural Revolution.) While Mao was clear as to the function of art, his "Talks" give l i t t l e indication of the form artistic works should take. To demand that literature should arise out of real l i f e , and to demand (in passing) "proletarian/socialist realism"^ as a means to that end, s t i l l appears to leave choices regarding form and style in the hands of the author. However, Mao's recommendation of the "budding literature and art" (mengya zhuangtai de wenyi) of the masses as models for literary and a r t i s t i c workers to emulate was an indication of Mao's approval for positions taken on "national forms" by others at Yan'an, notably Zhou Yang and Chen Boda. The influence of the debates on "national forms" i s evident in the literature produced after the Yan'an Forum. i i i ) "National Forms" In extant texts of Mao's Yan'an writings, there is only a single, tangential reference to "national forms," as something to be integrated with foreign forms in the enduring quest for the holy grail of a modern and quintessentially Chinese culture.*^ At the Jiangxi Soviet, this integration had been seen in the use of both folk-song (an indigenous form) and spoken drama (a Western importation) to convey a propaganda message. In Yan'an, the f o r e i g n forms, l i k e the "refinement" of the accessibility/refinement dialectic, were to take a subservient position. Mao's views on the unsuitability of most Westernised 5 0 writing to the conditions of Yan'an, and their antecedents in the thought of Qu Qiubai, have been outlined above. Further, Mao had l i t t l e knowledge of the Western literary heritage, and he did not feel the need (as had Marx and Engels) to make i t widely available to a mass a u d i e n c e . T h e writers that had excited the imagination of the revolutionary intellectuals of Beijing and Shanghai — Byron, Shelley, Keats, the young Goethe, Balzac, Yeats, Ibsen et a l ^ 1 — meant l i t t l e to Mao, and the imitative works of their Chinese admirers were alien and objectionable to him. An alternative model, also unfamiliar in its form but made more acceptable by virtue of its ideological content, was the work of Gorky and the other Russian "socialist realists." Soviet literature had influenced some Chinese writers: Xiao Jun's Countryside in August (Bayue de Xiangcun),^2 a sinification of CO Fadeyev's The Rout, was popular, i f controversial, when i t appeared in Shanghai in the mid-1930's. It was, however, the original Russian novel that Mao praised in his "Talks," both because of i t s association with Lu Xun (who had translated i t ) and out of distaste for Xiao Jun's criticisms of l i f e at Yan'an.-*4 Zhou Libo, who taught Russian literature at the Lu Xun academy in Yan'an, admitted to the influence of Sholokhov's writing on his novel Hurricane (Baofeng zhouyu).^ However, at Yan'an and thereafter, there seems to have been no wholesale borrowing from Soviet sources. It was the indigenous literary tradition that was chosen to provide the forms which, emptied of Confucian ideology and feudal customs, could be refilled according to the political guidelines of the "Talks." "National forms" encompassed both performing folk-arts (balladry, story-telling, yangge, etc.) and more elite forms with broad popular appeal (classic fiction, Beijing opera, etc.). While the folk forms were readily accessible to a local audience and provided a basis for literary work at Yan'an, the limitations imposed by their rustic regional nature became clear as the Red Army headed south; the more literary "national forms" retained their appeal even after the withdrawal from Shaanxi. The advocates of "national forms" at Yan'an saw that folk styles would be a useful i n i t i a l vehicle in conveying a communist message, as had been done in the Jiangxi Soviet. Before the "Talks," Zhou Yang, for example, had discussed the "national forms" in terms of the dialectical relationship between accessibility and refinement, maintaining that folk idioms were an acceptable base from which to build a more refined proletarian culture."*7 For Zhou Yang, the transformation of folk idiom was a s t r i c t l y temporary expedient; a reader with his wide-ranging tastes could hardly be satisfied for long with such limited fare. A stronger advocate of "national forms" among Mao's advisers at Yan'an was Chen Boda, whose commendation of the integration of popular culture was a component in the wider sinification of Marxism in which he and Mao were the major CO figures, and which resulted in Mao Zedong thought. Chen saw "national forms" as the means whereby the masses could contribute (albeit through the intermediacy of intellectuals) to the creation of a revolutionary Chinese culture during the transition to socialism, and he rejected the argument (put forward by Wang Shiwei, and resulting in a sharp rhetorical exchange) that popular forms were irrevocably tainted by their origins in a backward feudal culture and were best dispensed with altogether,Wang's implication that feudal Chinese culture could be more harmful than Western culture was unacceptable to a nationalist like Chen Boda. That the significant feature of literature produced after the rectification campaign was the "persistance of traditional forms" has been noted by many commentators. (Jaroslav Prusek observed the conscious revival of a wide range of popular traditions in his landmark study Die Literatur des Befreiten  Chinas und Ihre Volkstraditionen,^ and Cyril Birch and others have made similar observations in the case of fiction.*^) A mass movement was launched to transform the comic and often bawdy local dramatic form of yangge ("rice-sprout song") into a medium for mass education and the promulgation of Party policy. A Beijing Opera with a historical setting but a contemporary message, Forced to Ascend Liangshan (Bi shang Liangshan) showed the righteous rebellion of The Water Margin to latter-day rebels of Yan'an and won Mao's praise for opening a new era in opera;^ i t was followed by The White-haired G i r l (Baimao dramatisation of a contemporary story in which the sufferings of the central character are brought to an end by the arrival of communist troops. Audience reaction to the play witnessed by Jack Belden attested to i t s effectiveness as propaganda; the familiarity of its formal conventions must have contributed to its political effectiveness. The influence of story-telling and balladry is seen in the early stories of Zhao Shuli, some of the first fiction to appear after the Yan'an Forum. In his best-known story "Li Youcai's Rhymes" (Li Youcai banhua), written in 1943, the clapper-tales (kuaiban) of the central character indicate corruption in an apparently harmonious village, and justice is restored by the communist authorities. Both Prusek and Birch note the influence of The Water Margin on the Yan'an novel New Son and  Daughter Heroes (Xin emu yingxiong zhuan) and of Three  Kingdoms on Heroes of Liiliang (Luliang yingxiong zhuan) ;^9 Birch says of the latter novel that i t "is very clearly for mass consumption, new wine in an old and well-loved bottle."^0 It is not suprising that works in a traditional style easily accessible to a peasant audience should have made such effective propaganda at Yan'an. What is questionable is the extent to which a new literature grew out of this imitation of the old. Wang Shiwei's misgivings about "national forms" as a basis for a truly modern Chinese literature had been prescient. As i t transpired, traditional works provided not only the vessel for the new wine (the song-and-patter framework of the yangge, the simulated story-teller context of the novel) but also much of its body (stock character-types, plot motifs) with only the flavour changed by the essence of communism with which the tincture was infused. The tenacious grip of the "national forms" persisted well into the post-1949 years, and many of the most popular novels of the 1950's and 1960's borrowed liberally from traditional works.7"^  There have been occasions when a familiar, even hackneyed, plot-line or character-type has been delightfully revived in the hands of a sophisticated writer. Appended to this chapter in illustration is an account of the recycling of a tale from The  Water Margin in three manifestations from Yan'an to the mid-1960's. Essentially, however, the perpetuation of the "national forms" has been a conservative force in Chinese literature, fostering archaism at the expense of the bolder writing that might have inherited the modernism of the best of the May Fourth tradition and s t i l l been Chinese enough in its language and style to reach a mass audience, and thereby realised the "proletarian May Fourth" desired by Qu Qiubai. III. From 1949 to the Eve of the Cultural Revolution Both the literary politics and the major novels of the period have been described elsewhere, by Merle Goldman and Joe 7 3 C. Huang J respectively, and need not be reviewed here at length. Germane to the present study is the way in which the Yan'an position on the social and p o l i t i c a l role of the arts as a component in political struggle was periodically restated in 55 response to various perceived threats. Such reiterations habitually coincided with the resurfacing of the developmental model associated with Yan'an.^4 After 1949, Soviet-style governmental institutions were set up to oversee writers and artists, and Party literary policy was enunciated by the heads of these institutions, notably Zhou Yang. Cultural Revolution literary histories portray these years as dominated by a "black line" contrary to Mao's policies as stated at Yan'an. ^  Certainly there were periods of greater eclecticism, featuring a wider range of subjects permitted in debate, greater freedom to examine the concerns of the individual and more liber a l i t y towards artists in their choice of subject-matter. Mao's interventions, as emphasised afterwards, characteristically presaged tighter control and rectification. His f i r s t move against a target in the arts after 1949 was his objection to the film The Life of Wu Xun (Wu Xun zhuan); his comments placed greater emphasis on class struggle than had been the case at Yan'an, where his prime concern had been to unite the population of the liberated areas to support the military struggle. Mao held that The Life of Wu Xun showed the masses passively grateful to a wealthy philanthropist rather than rising up to overthrow feudalism; thus i t represented to him propaganda for the feudal gentry and a 76 distortion of the role of the proletariat. Mao's orchestration of the campaign against Hu Feng in 1954 was in response to a challenge to the authority of the "Talks." 56 Hu Feng (whom Lu Xun had defended against the Party in 1936) had objected both to Party control of the arts and to the elevation of the "Talks" as a totem after 1949. The campaign against Hu Feng was presented by Mao a consciousness-raising exercise in suppressing counter-revolutionaries. 7 7 Its effect was to provide fair warning of what was to come in terms of literary rectification, and to hasten the ascent of Yao Wenyuan. In the mid-1950's Mao offered some elaboration of his Yan'an utterances on both form and content. In his "Talk to Music Workers" of August 1956 he reiterated the position Chen Boda had taken on "national forms," insisting that the purpose of studying foreign art was to "create a new socialist art of the various peoples of China, which w i l l possess i t s own national forms and styles." The anti-rightist campaign of the following year (1957) marked a return to harsh criticism of dissenting i n t e l l e c t u a l s reminiscent of the Yan'an rectification. Mao's 1957 essay "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" (Guanyu zhengque chuli renmin  neibu maodun) established guidelines that would bring to an end criticisms of the Party and i t s policies (including those by authors representing the "scout" view of the artist) unleashed by the Hundred Flowers movement of the previous year. Mao admitted a lack of class character to the twin slogans of that year — "let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend" (baihua qifang, baijia  zhengming), and amended this lack by presenting six c r i t e r i a 57 for distinguishing politically acceptable works, or "fragrant flowers" (xianghua) from unacceptable ones, or "poisonous weeds" (ducao). The two most important of these, (in Mao's estimation), were that works of art "should be beneficial, and not harmful, to socialist transformation and socialist construction", and that "they should strengthen, and not shake off or weaken, the leadership of the Communist Party."^9 Mao did not carry out the attack on the "rightists" himself; typically he left i t to Zhou Yang to summarise the Party's case against those who were judged to have made excessive on criticisms. Following the second "blooming and contending" of 1961-2, Mao expressed disillusion and exasperation with the effects of Party policies in the arts (inter alia) in two short "critical evaluations" (pishi) in 1963 and 1964. He concluded that in the arts, especially in the field of opera "socialist transformation has had minimal effect up to now," and that the institutions supposed to control the arts "have not carried out Party policy, have acted officiously, have not made contact with the workers, peasants and soldiers, and have not reflected P»i socialist revolution and reconstruction. In other words, the literature anicipated at Yan'an had failed to emerge. For Mao, it was time to wipe the slate clean and start again, and in this his agents were Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing. Their attacks on the literary establishment and their proposals for a revolutionary transformation of the arts are the basis for the 58 discussion, in the next chapter, of Cultural Revolution literary theory. 59 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 1 NEW WINE IN OLD BOTTLES: FOUR FACES OF A BOGUS BRIDE To illustrate the perpetuation of the "national forms" and to show how a motif from the Chinese tradition could be reworked by communist authors within a new context, we w i l l review an incident from The Water Margin and three recent reworkings. The tale might best be called "come-uppance at the hands of a bogus bride." As i t appears in the original, a bandit chieftain forces an unwilling father to give up his daughter in marriage; after the wedding feast, the g i r l i s replaced in the bridal bedchamber by the "stout fellow" (haohan) Lu Zhishen. The bandit gets as far as stroking Lu's bare belly in the dark before the "bride" siezes him and beats him up.* (In an equivalent story in Journey to the West (Xiyou ji) i t is the Monkey King Sun Wukong who plays wife to the venal pig-spirit Zhubajie,^ In the Yan'an novel New Son and Daughter Heroes, the groom i s a Japanese army commander and the intended reluctant bride is the novel's romantic heroine L i t t l e Plum. Her place i s taken at the wedding by Niu Xiaoshui, a young member of a communist guerilla band — the latter-day haohan. The plot is more elaborate than the Water Margin original, with Xiaoshui bewigged, high-heeled and lipsticked as the bride. When the drunken groom claims his conjugal rights, he gets no more than a feel of Xiaoshui's leg before the "bride" shoots him. 60 Much the same scene provides the climax to the 1964 opera Sparks in the Reeds (Lutang huozhong); here the guerillas, masterminded by the teahouse proprietress Aqing's wife, provide the cooks, musicians and sedan-chair bearers for the marriage of a nationalist commander. In this case, however, the "bride" does not appear, as the commander and his retinue are captured before the ceremony.4 (When the opera was adapted by Jiang Qing as a model opera, with the new t i t l e Shajiabang, the wedding-scene finale was abandoned for a more convential guerilla attack, to the detriment of the opera as entertainment. The final version of the "bogus bride" motif to be considered is as i t appears, much adapted but s t i l l recognisable, in Hao Ran's 1964 novel Bright Sunny Skies (Yanyang Tian). Here a marriage is to be arranged rather than consummated. Jiao Shuhong, like Little Plum the ideal match for the novel's hero, is courted by the bookish and untrustworthy Ma Liben. Ma discovers that Shuhong will be taking her turn to guard unharvested crops at night, and arranges to meet her at her post, lending her a large straw hat to wear. That night, seeing the wearer of the hat crouching at the assigned spot huddled in a padded coat, Ma delivers his words of passion. Emboldened by the silence of the listener, Ma risks a kiss, and comes up against the bristly cheek of Shuhong's father, whom the girl has persuaded to replace her. Ma's boldness costs him a punch in the mouth and an earful of insult.^ This is the most comic version 61 of the story, both because i t is the least violent and because the reader discovers at the same time as Ma Liben who is under the hat, since the author has led up to the incident by describing only Ma Liben's excited anticipation. Creative use of a familiar motif has enriched the story, leaving the reader with something that combines the accessibility and refinement which the Yan'an "Talks" had aimed to synthesise. 6 2 CHAPTER 2 CULTURAL REVOLUTION LITERARY THEORY:  YAO WENYUAN AND JIANG QING The opening salvo of the Maoist counter-attack against the "blooming and contending" of the early 1960's was a collaboration involving i t s named author, Yao Wenyuan, with Mao Zedong and Jiang Qing. With "A Criticism of the Recent Historical Drama Hai  Rui Dismissed from Office" (Ping xinbian l i s h i j u Hai Rui ba  guan),* the setting of cultural policy passed into the hands of Yao and Jiang Qing, who were to command the arts in China for the next decade. In articles and speeches dating from the five years 1964-8, Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing established guidelines for literary endeavour in the Cultural Revolution. Thereafter, they ceased to publish in their own names, working instead through surrogates organised into writing-teams. The essays and speeches of Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing offer a rationalisation for the denunciation of the cultural authorities and literary production of the seventeen years following the communist victory, and seek, through puritanical exegesis of the "Talks," to justify stern new rules for artistic creativity. Yao's role was to attack specific members of the literary establishment, and specific works, as inimical to Mao (both the man and his thought) and consequently counter-revolutionary; only by implication did he decree what literature should be. Jiang Qing concentrated, in the 63 documents now available, on attacking literary theories rather than personalities (though there is ample evidence of personal vindictiveness elsewhere), and establishing guidelines and exemplars for art that would contain i t within an exclusively "social" role in the service of the policies of the Communist Party and by extension, of her own ambitions and caprices. I. Yao Wenyuan Yao Wenyuan had been active in Shanghai literary circles for a decade before his attack on Wu Han was published in November 1965. His previous ac t i v i t i e s qualified him for the role of cultural avenging angel at the outset of the Cultural Revolution. Particularly in essays dating from the "anti-rightist" movement of the late 1950's, Yao had exhibited a highly p o l i t i c a l view of the arts, and a polemical style, that set the style for Cultural Revolution c r i t i c a l writing. Three major c r i t i c a l essays by Yao — on Wu Han's opera, on a newspaper column by the "three-family village" of Deng Tuo, Wu Han and Liao Mosha, and on Zhou Yang, epitomise the Cultural Revolution attack on the literary establishment of the seventeen years 1949-66. From these three essays can be extrapolated the theoretical basis for Yao Wenyuan and Jiang Qing's seizure of control over the arts, and an early indication of the art, and the artists, that would be permitted to flourish in the Cultural Revolution. 64 i) Yao's Early Career-3 Yao became known as an aggressive critic (the Chinese terra is gunzi "cudgel") for his attacks on writers during the 1950's, first in the campaign against Hu Feng, and then, more prominently, in the "anti-rightist" campaign. Central to Yao's outlook on a r t i s t i c questions was his concentration on the p o l i t i c a l message of art and emphasis on class struggle. Writing in 1958, he had this summary of the literary history of the first decade of the People's Republic: The history of China's new literature is primarily the history of the proletarian literary line struggling with the bourgeois literary line both inside and outside revolutionary literature. It is the history of Marxist-Leninist literary theory struggling with naked feudal restorationism, reactionary bourgeois and revisionist theory cloaked in Marxist terminology. It is the history of the world of revolutionary literature struggling with enemies outside and enemies who have sneaked in. 4 Yao presented himself as the defender of the Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism against revisionism in cultural spheres. To Yao, revisionism meant believing that art, and artists, were special and warranted special treatment, and denying that the arts are subservient to politics and must follow the Party's instructions.^ His most virulent attacks were on those "revisionists" who defended themselves by attacking dogmatism, a charge frequently, and justifiably, laid against Yao, and strengthened by drawing authority from Mao's "On Practice" in which dogmatism and empiricism are both condemned. 65 Thus Yao interpreted the anti-dogmatism of Hu Feng (which was directed at Mao), and later of Yao Xueyin and Liu Shaotang (which was aimed at himself), as a rejection of the theoretical base provided for the arts in Mao's "Talks." Yao consistently used his interpretation of Mao on the arts as the base from which to attack those who were theoretically opposed to him or who stood in the way of his advancement in cultural circles. Targets of attack among writers of fiction included Wang Meng and Liu Binyan, young authors whose idealistic heroes (in stories published in 1956) were suppressed by craven, corrupt or cynical office-holders;^ Yao construed their stories as attacks on socialism.^ Their offence was linked to that of Qin Zhaoyang, the editor who had published their stories in People's Literature (Renmin wenxue). Qin had further demanded a "realist" literature that was "loyal to l i f e " as the author perceived i t , in preference to the Party control implicit in both the "socialist realism" advocated at Yan'an and its successor, the "combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism" (formulated after Qin's article on realism was Q published). Other targets included the humanist literary critic Ba Ren, whose emphasis on "man" (ren) Yao Wenyuan, following Mao at Yan'an, took to be a denial of the determining role of class struggle in defining human relations; 9 and Ba Jin, for his past association with anarchism and the potentially depressing effect of his writings on the young.10 This series of attacks on leading cultural figures 66 i n e v i t a b l y alienated Yao Wenyuan from much of the l i t e r a r y establishment, and has been denounced, since Yao's f a l l , as demonstrable u l t r a - l e f t i s m on h i s part.** However, while he was c o n s i s t e n t i n h i s demands f o r a p o l e m i c a l " s o c i a l " l i t e r a t u r e , Yao was p u n c t i l i o u s i n h i s a d h e r e n c e to c u r r e n t P a r t y g u i d e l i n e s a t any stage. As h i s c r i t i c a l b i o g r a p h e r L a r s Ragvald wryly observes of h i s a n t i - r e v i s i o n i s t writings: "every new i n s i g h t gained by Yao shows a strange coincidence with the 1 9 o f f i c i a l elaboration of rightism and revisionism." Condemnation g r e a t l y outweighs commendation i n Yao's w r i t i n g , but i t i s i n s t r u c t i v e to see what k i n d of l i t e r a t u r e Yao p r a i s e d i n h i s a n t i - r e v i s i o n i s t essays, as a preview of works produced under h i s a u t h o r i t y . Yao's p r e f e r e n c e was f o r s i m p l e p r o p a g a n d i s t i c works by authors s t r o n g e r on p r a c t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e than s c h o o l i n g . T h i s i s shown i n h i s defense, a g a i n s t L i u Shaotang, of works produced i n the l i b e r a t e d areas b e f o r e 1949, i n c l u d i n g the e a r l y s t o r i e s of Zhao S h u l i . Yao r e f u t e d Liu's c l a i m t h a t these works, and the " T a l k s " t h a t in s p i r e d them, were ephemera s p e c i f i c to t h e i r times, claiming f o r them l a s t i n g v a l u e . He h e l d up Du Pengchong, author of the novel Defend Yan'an (Baowei Yan'an) as one of a new breed of author schooled i n b a t t l e rather than the a r t s who would r e p l a c e the a e s t h e t e s and t h e o r e t i c i a n s he d e s p i s e d . * ^ Of post-1949 works, he lavished praise on the new-style folk-songs of the Great Leap, (which were both s i m p l e propaganda and l a t t e r - d a y " n a t i o n a l forms"), and the f i c t i o n of uneducated 67 worker-writers like Hu Wanchun. Yao abandoned the specific authors he praised when the situation demanded (Zhao Shuli was denounced for his "middle characters," Du Pengchong for his supposed hagiography of Peng Dehuai), but retained his preference for works of this kind. Yao's perception of his role throughout his career was that, as a c r i t i c , he should be a Party cadre exercising political surveillance over the arts. His responsibility, as he saw i t , was not to the artists, but to the Party. By the time of his attack on Wu Han, Yao had significantly narrowed the scope of this responsibility, identifying the Party exclusively with Mao, and the ideology to be defended as Mao's thought. In this sense, he was, as Ragvald suggests (but does not develop) a Chinese equivalent of Andrei Zhdanov, who insisted that artists eulogise socialism, the Communist Party and i t s leader (Stalin), and eschew "tastes and habits that have nothing in common with the morality and traits of the Soviet people."1^ For Yao, as for Zhdanov, political criteria were primary, and his sensitivity to political innuendo was never more acute than in his three Cultural Revolution criticisms. i i ) The Object of Yao's Attacks; the "Blooming and Contending" of  1961-2 Though Peng Dehuai had been dismissed, at Mao's insistence, for his blunt condemnation of the Great Leap Forward in 1959, there was clearly support for his position among the leadership 68 in the early 1960's. The brief liberalisation of 1961-2 coincided with economic policies marking retreat from the mass mobilisation and p o l i t i c a l activism of the Great Leap. The manifestations of the "blooming and contending" (to use Merle Goldman's phrase*7) were indirect criticism of Mao and his mass-line policies, and a tendency in the arts away from the strident and often simplistic social writing that had won Yao Wenyuan's praise in the late 1950's. The attacks on Mao came from Beijing, where they appeared on the opera stage and in newspaper columns. In addition to Wu Han's drama on Hai Rui, other operas with historical settings made indirect criticisms of Mao. The Tang dynasty heroine of Tian Han's Xie Yaohuan pleads with a harsh ruler who has put his own pride before the interests of the peasantry. The concubine Li Huiniang, in Meng Chao's opera of the same name, i s executed after c r i t i c i s i n g ther confiscation of peasants' land by her ruler husband, and returns as a ghost 1 8 to be avenged. Both i m p l i c i t l y condemned the collectivisation of peasant land to form the people's communes as confiscation, and portrayed Mao, through analogy with past autocrats, as an uncaring tyrant forcing unpopular policies on the peasantry* The two newspaper columns which similarly c r i t i c i s e d Mao and the Great Leap were "Evening Chats at Yanshan" (Yanshan yehua) by Deng Tuo,*^ which appeared in Beijing's daily and evening papers in 1961-2, and "Notes from Three-Family Village" (Sanjiacun zhaji), by Deng, Wu Han 69 and Liao Mosha in the Beijing journal Frontline (Qianxian) from 1961 to 1964.20 Some of the allegations made by Deng, Wu and Liao against Mao w i l l be summarised in the analysis of Yao's essay "A C r i t i c i s m of 'Three-Family V i l l a g e ' " (Ping  "Sanjiacun") 2 1 below. At the same time these criticisms were being made, Xia Yan (the Party o f f i c a l supervising cinema and a long-time associate of Zhou Yang) was encouraging film-makers to broaden the scope of their works to include more personal and intimate films, in contrast to the propagandistic, nationalistic and predominantly military themes of the rushed productions of the late 1950's. This led to screen adaptations of May Fourth works like Ba Jin's Family (Jia), Mao Dun's Lin Family Store (Linjia  puzi) and Rou Shi's Early Spring in February (Zaochun eryue), each of which featured intense psychological and moral struggles within the hearts of bourgeois characters sympathetically portrayed. Debates on literary theory in the early 1960's showed a tendency away from the "social" function of art implicit in the formulations "socialist realism" or "revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism." At a conference in 1962 on stories about the countryside, Shao Quanlin proposed that stories might concentrate on "middle characters" (zhong jian  renwu) neither heroic nor e v i l , rather than showing the poor peasantry as necessarily progressive p o l i t i c a l l y , as o f f i c i a l policy dictated, and as they had appeared in the 70 stories of the Great Leap Forward. Shao's theories, and many others which were condemned as heterodox in the Cultural Revolution, were by no means uncontested before that. However, for Yao Wenyuan, the lack of a full-scale political campaign to condemn either the criticisms of Mao or the de-emphasis on class conflict was clear evidence of complicity by the officials overseeing the arts in a conspiracy against Mao by bourgeois intellectuals. Zhou Yang, as Party official in charge of the arts, was for Yao the chief culprit. Yao's three criticisms will be summarised below in the order of their publication, starting with his essay on Wu Han's opera. i i i ) Hai Rui Dismissed from Office Wu Han, the deputy mayor of Beijing, had begun to write about the Ming dynasty "upright official" (qingguan) Hai Rui shortly after Peng Dehuai's criticism of Mao at the Lushan Plenum in August 1959. Hai Rui Dismissed from Office (Hai  Rui ba guan) was Wu Han's first opera. It was presented in 1961 and withdrawn after a few performances. The story of the opera, set in Suzhou in 1569-70, i s as follows: the family of Xu Jie, a former prime minister retired to Suzhou, tyrannises the local peasantry. His son seizes the land of an old peasant and abducts his granddaughter. When the peasant protests, he is beaten to death in court on the orders of a magistrate bribed by the Xu family. Hai Rui, newly appointed as 71 district governor, discovers the true facts of the case and rights the injustices done to the peasants by having the young Xu executed and the corrupt magistrate fired. He restores the land expropriated by the Xus to i t s rightful owners. This he does despite the pleas and threats of Xu Jie, and at the cost of his governorship as Xu engineers his dismissal by the remote and arbitrary Jiaqing Emperor. Wu Han's historical analogy was clear enough: in the Great Leap, collectivisation of land had taken i t out of direct peasant ownership only a decade after land reform had given i t to the t i l l e r , and unreasonable demands had been placed on the peasantry by local officials. Further, when Peng Dehuai apprised himself of the situation, and protested against policies that were causing widespread famine and devastation, he was ousted by Mao. The name of Peng Dehuai was mentioned neither in Wu's play nor the debate over the opera, but the point was not lost on Mao, who observed: "the Jiaqing Emperor dismissed Hai Rui, and we dismissed Peng Dehuai in 1959. Peng Dehuai is a Hai Rui as well."^7 Yao Wenyuan's criticism of Wu's drama represented the first attack on a large body of works, and a large group of i n f l u e n t i a l people; i t had, by Yao's standards, a restrained and c i v i l tone (for example, Wu Han is addressed as "comrade" throughout). Yao was prepared to accept the challenge to the Great Leap implicit in the opera, but avoided the personal implications for Mao and Peng in the portrayal of the Emperor and 72 Hai Rui respectively. Yao chose to attack Wu Han first for his interpretation of history (both of the Ming and the People's Republic) and then for his class stand. Yao contested the claim that the historical Hai Rui had "righted injustices" (ping yuanji) and "restored land" (tui tian) to i t s true owners. He asserted that Hai Rui had actually sentenced the younger Xu to banishment rather than death. (Wu had admitted as much in his preface, claiming the change was for dramatic effect.) Yao also claimed that Hai Rui had given the land confiscated from the Xus not to the peasants, but to other landlords. To Yao, Hai Rui was not an upright and incorruptible supporter of the people against bad government, as Wu Han had showed him, but an oppressor himself. Turning to the modern period, he denied that the Chinese people had suffered injustices at the hands of the Communist Party, and denounced the opera's "restoring of land" as an attack on the communes when, Yao claimed, i t was actually the Party that had given the peasants their land in the first place. Yao was on difficult ground debating Ming history with an acknowledged expert like Wu Han, particularly since Wu had freely confessed to bending certain historical facts. He was also hampered in his demystification of the historical analogy by the self-imposed constraint against mentioning the conflict between Mao and Peng Dehuai. Yao's expertise lay rather in denouncing the class orientation of opponents, and his strongest condemnation of Wu Han was on that score. For him, 7 3 Wu Han's opera, and his other works on Hai Rui, represented the perpetuation of the oppressor's myth of the benevolent ruling class. Wu Han's peasants depended for their salvation on a representative of officialdom, rather than (as Yao would clearly have preferred) rising up to overthrow their oppressors themselves. Wu Han was thus avoiding the issue of class struggle and denying the motive power of the masses in the creation of history. Furthermore, Hai Rui was unacceptable to Yao as a hero, since his heroism was not mass-based, but dependent on a strong individual sense of justice. Yao Wenyuan's attack on Hai Rui Dismissed from Office echoed Mao's criticism of The Life of Wu Xun, in that both works were seen to have subverted Mao's teaching on class struggle by presenting the people passively dependent on oppressor-class saviours. In his essay, as in his anti-revisionist works, Yao assured himself of the strongest possible political base by presenting himself as the spokesman for orthodoxy against a "poisonous weed." As defender of Mao and the Party, Yao also exhibited his resolution not to cede the right to interpret history to opposing scholars like Wu Han. Yao recognised the power of historical analogy (he was himself responsible for the attempted exoneration of Empress Lii on Jiang Qing's behalf ten years later), and was unprepared to leave the historical mirror in the hands of his enemies. 74 iv) The "Three-family Village"^ 0 Yao's essay "A Criticism of 'Three-family Village'" published six months after his article on Hai Rui, was similarly framed as the rebuttal of covert attacks on Mao and his policies. However, this second "criticism" was by no means the first attack 29 on Deng Tuo, Wu Han and Liao Mosha, and p o l i t i c a l advantage was by then swinging towards Mao, Yao and Jiang Qing; so the rhetoric was much more strident than the earlier piece, and the threesome was denied the courtesy of comradeship. Many of the essays that had appeared in the two columns, ostensibly light discursive pieces on history and scholarship, contained attacks on Mao by historical anology, portraying him as unrealistic, arbitrary and domineering. Of the several hundred articles we w i l l here take only three, two of Deng Tuo's "Evening Chats" and one collectively written by the "three-family village," that most clearly represent this c r i t i c i s m . In an essay on "Doctrines of Caring for the Workforce" (Aihu laodongli de xueshuo), Deng Tuo praised the forbearance of former rulers in exacting corvee labour from the peasants, set in the Rites of Zhou (Zhouli) at "three days [per annum] in a good year, two days in a middling year, and only one day in a poor year." The contrast with the massive levies for prestige construction projects in the Great Leap was inescapable; by implication, Mao had much to learn from feudal emperors in caring for his people. A cautionary tale from the Ming dynasty allowed Deng Tuo to 75 mock Mao's rashness i n launching the Great Leap. In "Setting up i n B u s i n e s s w i t h One Egg" (Yige j i d a n de j i a d a n g ) , a pauper who f i n d s an egg fantasises on the wealth i t w i l l bring him; but when he suggests to h i s w i f e t h a t he w i l l even be a b l e to a f f o r d a concubine, she smashes the egg and h i s hopes with i t . Deng Tuo's remarks on the moral of the s t o r y have d i r e c t bearing on the u n f e a s i b i l i t y of the Great Leap: " t h i s plan had no r e l i a b l e basis, and arose out of a t o t a l misconception, each new step being predicated on the r e s u l t s of the previous misconception. As for things years ahead, he t o t a l l y r e p l a c e d r e a l i t y w i t h fantasy ... ."^* Not only had Mao stubbornly persisted with errant p o l i c i e s , i t was suggested, he a l s o t a l k e d too much to no c l e a r purpose. Under t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e pseudonym Wu Nanxing,-^ the " t h r e e -f a m i l y v i l l a g e " i n an a r t i c l e "Great Empty T a l k " (Da kong hua) parodied the c l i c h e s and jargon of the folk-songs of the Great Leap by cramming them in t o a s i l l y child's rhyme which ended: "The East Wind i s our b e n e f a c t o r , / The West Wind i s our enemy. They also advised those tempted to "great empty t a l k " to "read more, think more, and say le s s . The bludgeon of Yao's r h e t o r i c was i n sharp contrast to the elegant r a p i e r s of the "three-family v i l l a g e " as he launched t h i s furious assault on the passage quoted above: In o s t e n s i b l y c r i t i c i s i n g a c h i l d ' s poem, he i n d i r e c t l y condemned the statement t h a t "the East Wind i s our benefactor and the West Wind i s our enemy" as "empty t a l k , " "jargon," " c l i c h e s " and "pomposity." T h i s was a f l a g r a n t d e n i g r a t i o n 76 of the Marxist-Leninist scientific thesis [sic] that "the East Wind prevails over the West Wind" as "empty talk" ... What was Deng Tuo's purpose? It was to slander the great Mao Zedong thought that leads us forward as "empty talk;" to get us to abandon Mao Zedong thought in our p o l i t i c a l l i f e and to give up the Marxist-Leninist line. He even went so far as to make the extravagant demand that our Party should "say less and take a rest when the time comes for talking". If Mao Zedong thought were laid to rest, would i t not be possible for revisionist ideas to be rampant? This desperate denunciation of Mao Zedong thought could not do i t the least harm; on the contrary i t showed even more clearly that Mao Zedong's thought i s an ideological weapon of unlimited revolutionary force which makes a l l cow-demons and snake-spirits tremble with fright. 35 The strident and almost hysterical tone of Yao's writing in this and subsequent pieces demonstrates that, although his position strengthened to apparent invulnerability, he remained acutely sensitive to opposition. The virulence of the passage quoted above i s representative of Cultural Revolution rhetoric and i t s influence can be seen not only in the polemical discourse, but also (as chapter 4 below w i l l show) in the literary writing of the Cultural Revolution. The newspaper column of the "three-family village," like Wu Han's opera, no longer presented any threat to Yao Wenyuan, the Chairman or his wife at the time of Yao's attacks. The "three-family village" were s t i l l in office, however, and Yao's essays were part of a concerted drive to stamp out the criticisms of defiant and unmanageable intellectuals, and to oust the Beijing municipal and cultural authorities. In 1966, Yao won the day: Deng Tuo died in j a i l before the year was out, Wu Han perished in 1969, and only Liao Mosha survived to give tearful 77 testimony when Yao and Jiang Qing stood trial in 1980. v) Zhou Yang Yao's separation of Mao from the Party in his attacks on the literary activities of the early 1960*s was seen to greatest effect in his essay "A Criticism of the Two-faced Counter-revolutionary Zhou Yang" (Ping fangeming  liangmianpai Zhou Yang). As the Party o f f i c i a l charged with supervising the nation's intellectuals and overseeing the arts, Zhou Yang had accommodated himself to numerous shifts in policy, including the retreat from the Great Leap Forward and the liberalisation of the early 1960's, the backlash against which launched the Cultural Revolution. Zhou had attempted to represent the Party and the intellectuals to each other. Thus he could be blamed by writers and artists for suppression of intellectual freedom on the Party's behalf, and by the Party i f the intellectuals were unduly critical or failed to produce the masterpieces of socialist art expected of them. The untenability of Zhou's position is shown by condemnation of him in 1967 from the contrasting standpoints of Merle Goldman and Yao Wenyuan. To Goldman, Zhou was guilty of suppressing dissenters in a series of o o campaigns dating from 1942; to Yao, Zhou was guilty of abetting those same dissenters and criticising them only to save his own skin when Mao's position became clear. Both c r i t i c s , however, largely concurred in their assessments of 78 Zhou's intellectual prowess. Goldman saw him as an "urban pseudo-intellectual" (a judgment later revised to "urbane i n t e l l e c t u a l " ^ ) , and Yao claimed that Zhou's "published writings and private talks ... abound in reactionary twaddle and are riddled with mistakes and obvious fallacies." 4* Zhou had actually handled his charge with greater finesse than his critics allowed him in 1967. His position was much more ambiguous than Yao's, when the latter replaced him as de  facto cultural commissar, in that Yao felt himself responsible only to Mao, and not at a l l to the intellectuals. Zhou Yang was a riva l whom Yao had to destroy; but he was also an ideological adversary, better read in Chinese and foreign literature and theory, and more eclectic than Yao, the basis for whose Cultural Revolution theory was romantic loyalty to Mao.42 The essence of Yao's attack on Zhou Yang was that Zhou had been two-faced in his service to the Party. (Here "Party" stands for Mao.) Yao demonstrated Zhou's heterodoxy by retelling the history of the literary debates of the 1950's, showing Zhou first encouraging those opposed to Mao, then when Mao attacked them, taking responsiblity for presenting Mao's case, and finally protecting the offenders from harm by stifling further criticism. Yao was thus able to dismiss the orthodoxy of Zhou's f i n a l statements on each campaign by asserting that they were merely a smokescreen to conceal his real sympathy for the heterodox. (This case is hard to make, especially in the case of the "rightists," whose lengthy internal exile represented a punishment that should have satisfied even Yao.) The divergence between Zhou and Yao's positions is clearest for the early 1960's when Zhou, responding to the initiatives of many Party and State leaders, 4 3 presided over the liberalisation that gave rise to the criticisms of Mao on stage and in print, and to the films Yao pilloried for sympathetic portrayal of the bourgeoisie and lack of class struggle. What Zhou had done in those years that was anathema to Yao was to loosen Party control to the extent that the arts explored characters as individuals rather than as members of classes. That cinema scenarists had returned to May Fourth texts with multi-faceted bourgeois characters as subject matter showed that they, like many other artists and intellectuals, rejected the strictures on the arts that Mao had enunciated at Yan'an, of praising the Party, socialism, workers, peasants and soldiers. The breach between Zhou Yang, who had briefly allowed these artists free rein, and Yao Wenyuan, was total and irreconcilable. Under Yao's leadership, a new cultural dispensation was inevitable. vi) Yao's Literary Policy for the Cultural Revolution Yao's three "criticisms" cited above reveal those practices by intellectuals that he regarded as political crimes: any criticism of Mao, relaxation of Party control of the arts, and concentration on conflicts within the individual rather than class struggle. For Yao's view of the role of the artist, we 80 must look elsewhere, to two speeches given to mark anniversaries, thirty years after Lu Xun's death and twenty-five after the Yan'an "Talks." Like Mao, Yao presented Lu Xun as a role model, though the Lu Xun that Yao offers to support his own position is a revised form of the one Mao used against Wang Shiwei in 1942, and is hardly recognisable as the historical figure; the 1966 model Lu Xun is an unswerving proletarian revolutionary completely loyal to Mao and absolutely integrated with the masses.44 For the art i s t , as for everyone else, Mao and his thought are the only true talisman, as Yao's speech on the "Talks" makes clear: We must certainly place the studying, grasping, and carrying out of Mao Zedong thought in a position higher than anything else, greater than anything else, f i r s t before anything else and more important than anything else. 45 Such an elevation of Mao's thought to the status of a totem Yao shared with Lin Biao, but Lin's demise in no way diminished the cultivation of the myth of Mao, which continued unabated through the ful l decade of the Cultural Revolution. Yao's Cultural Revolution theories, precedented as they were by his anti-revisionist writings, were also heavily influenced by his association, from 1965, with Jiang Qing. Jiang Qing's biographer Roxanne Witke found Yao "clearly subservient"4^ to her, a eunuch to Jiang Qing's empress.47 Yao's clearing of the cultural stage was the prerequisite for the empress' grand entry. 81 II. Jiang Qing The Cultural Revolution was for Jiang Qing what Yan'an had been for Mao: the opportunity to scotch prevailing humanistic views and provide new political direction for the arts. She saw her role essentially as clarifying and implementing the literary policies Mao had enunciated in his "Talks" but which those entrusted with supervision of the arts had subverted in the succeeding quarter-century. She indicated to Roxanne Witke that the authority for her intervention in the arts derived from Mao's "Talks;"4^ and she suggested in a 1967 speech that had she been empowered to implement policy at Yan'an, a more thoroughgoing transformation of the arts would have ensued.49 Her identification of her actions with her husband and his policy featured in the self-promotion of her heyday in the mid-1960's and in her defence after her f a l l . "I was Chairman Mao's dog," she told her accusers at her tr i a l in 1980, "who[m]ever he told me to bite, I bit."-'0 Certain differences do exist, however, in the answers given by Jiang Qing and Mao on basic questions concerning the function of the arts and the most suitable people and methods for producing them. Conflicting views between and her husband are incompatible with the image Jiang Qing presented of herself in her essays and speeches and in the oral autobiography she gave to Witke, and have not been addressed since; but they are instructive in understanding the differences in the arts produced after the Yan'an Forum and in 82 the Cultural Revolution. On the function of art, Jiang Qing shared Mao's utilitarianism, seeing art as subordinate to the other work of the Party. However Jiang Qing had higher strategic expectations of the arts. Mao had seen a symbiotic relationship between revolutionary art and revolutionary practice, with the former based in the real i t i e s of the latter and, by presenting i t in inspirational terms, consolidating popular support for the Party. Jiang Qing saw art as playing a leading, rather than a supporting, role in the transformation of man and society; and the source of the arts, as she conceived i t , was more the potential than the actual (more "revolutionary romanticism" than "socialist realism"). Of a l l Chinese communist leaders, Jiang Qing has had the greatest faith in the motivating force of a r t : she i n d i c a t e d to Witke that "drama shapes consciousness"^ and that "the superstructure could lead the CO base. In purely strategic terms, she grossly overestimated the suasive powers of the arts, since a decade of cultural control won her l i t t l e public sympathy in 1976. If Jiang Qing believed that she could turn ideals into reality by putting them on stage and making people watch them, then the public reaction to her f a l l must have been a disillusioning experience for her. On the question of who was to produce the arts, Jiang Qing, like Mao, (and Qu Qiubai before him) expressed mistrust that artists left to their own devices could produce works that would serve the interests of the revolutionary vanguard, but her 83 solution to this dilemma was more radical than his had been. Mao had sought to bring about the ideological transformation of the Yan'an intellectuals, most of whom were of bourgeois origin, by means of theoretical study and protracted exposure to the people, so that they would acquire the proletarian standpoint of the Party. Jiang Qing chose rather to reject the intelligentsia wholesale in favour of less educated writers more amenable to Party control. This implicit rejection of Mao's belief in the potential of intellectuals, and others of bourgeois origin, to transform their thinking had a profound effect on the course of the Cultural Revolution. It provided the justification for the maltreatment of many older intellectuals who were seen as incorrigibly inimical to the Party and i t s chairman by virtue of their class background and learning, and thus undeserving of humane treatment. Jiang Qing's disquisitions on artistic method show her to be more specific and less flexible than her husband. Mao had concentrated on the function of art, and aimed to steer intellectuals (once they had undergone ideological transformation), away from the individualistic and Westernised May Fourth tradition, to produce a "social" literature in a demonstrably national form; but, as a poet himself, he allowed the individual "worker in the arts" a substantial role in artistic creation. Jiang Qing was prepared to allow considerably less autonomy than Mao. Her mistrust of established authors with commensurable egos may have been due to the disregard in which 84 they held her as much as their unmalleability; i t led to her sponsorship of young and unknown authors, often assembled in "creative groups" (chuangzuo zu). She fe l t that the people who create art should be constantly supervised both by their audience and, more importantly, by the Party authorities; in the i n i t i a l phase of the "revolution in the arts" over which she presided, she herself was the sole arbiter of what could or could not be presented. Such intimate supervision ensured not only that the arts would support the Communist Party (as Qian Xingcun had demanded in the 1920's and Mao had insisted at Yan'an), but that this support would present the interests of the Party leadership (both long-term and immediate) at any given moment. This led inevitably to the use of art as a weapon in factional struggle, wielded by those who controlled the arts (Jiang Qing chief among them) against their adversaries. Three of Jiang Qing's many speeches and articles from the mid-sixties will be reviewed below to indicate the ideological basis for her attempt at cultural transformation; these will be followed by discussion of the "three prominences" (san tuchu) formula that was employed in refining operas to model form and was subsequently required in a l l artistic and literary practice. i) "On the Revolution in Beijing Opera"(Tan Jingju geming)-^ Jiang Qing's speech, given at the extensively publicised Festival of Beijing Operas on Contemporary Themes in July of 1964 was by no means that festival's keynote address. The major 85 speeches on the reform of opera were by Beijing mayor Peng Zhen and culture minister Lu Dingyi, who encouraged the trend towards operas on modern themes as complementary to the continued staging of historical pieces, and urged performers in revolutionary roles to cultivate revolutionary attitudes themselves.^4 Jiang Qing's address, which went unpublished until the f a l l of Peng and Lu, was (as much as can be judged from the 1967 text available) more radical in tone, calling for a revolution (geming) rather tham reform (gaige) in Beijing opera. Before dealing with the text of Jiang Qing's speech, i t is worth considering her choice of Beijing Opera as the base from which to transform the arts. As an actress in Shanghai in the 1930's, Jiang Qing's area of expertise was in the Western forms of spoken drama (huaju) and cinema. It was natural therefore that the performing arts should be the focus of her activities after 1949. Her first foray had been in the political control of cinema, where she had been outranked and frustrated by Xia Yan and others more experienced in the making of films. Opera, the field of her subsequent endeavours, was better suited to her in her role as reviver of the principles of Yan'an, in that i t was a "national form," the most universal of the Chinese performing arts; and Beijing Opera, performed in the common language of China, was most conducive to promotion on a nationwide basis. Further, Chinese opera plots traditionally portrayed in highly stylised form the triumph of good over evil, and could easily be adapted to suit differing versions of good and evil. That the scripts and stage 86 directions could also be endlessly changed to clarify the political message also held appeal to the perfectionist in Jiang Qing. The suitability of opera to carry a contemporary political message had been shown in the work of Wu Han and others in the early 1960*s. It was in reaction to their works that Jiang Qing had, on Mao's behalf, begun her own investigations into the Peking Opera in 1962. She had almost certainly been instrumental in Mao's singling out of opera as a bastion of "dead men" in his 1963 " c r i t i c a l evaluation." The final reason for Jiang Qing's involvement in Beijing Opera was simple opportunism: as the size of the Festival and the number of works performed indicates, the movement to create operas with modern settings was underway and gathering momentum by 1964. Leadership in modern Beijing Opera was tantamount to leadership in the arts, and as such the conflict over opera reform was a focus for the internecine struggle that was building in the Communist Party in the years immediately preceding the Cultural Revolution. Jiang Qing's most notable supporter in her bid for control of the arts, as of 1964, was Ke Qingshi, then mayor of Shanghai, who had voiced many of the opinions put forward by Jiang Qing in July 1964 at a smaller regional festival some months before. Ke's speech had insisted on adherence to Mao's "Talks" and his six c r i t e r i a (of 1957), i m p l i c i t l y demanding tighter Party control of the arts, and had called 87 for dramatisation of the exemplary deeds of heroic proletarians, including the formation of a human dam against flood-water later immortalised in Ode to Dragon River.-^ Jiang Qing's speech "On the Revolution in Peking Opera" began with condemnation of that great majority of the nation's drama companies which persisted in performing operas on other than contemporary themes. Despite her personal experience with i t , she dismissed spoken drama (a Western form that had existed in China only since the May Fourth movement) as the province of "foreigners and ancients" (wairen guren); while the opera stage "which is of course a place to educate the people ... is f u l l of emperors, kings, generals, ministers (diwang jiangxiang), scholars and beauties (caizi jiaren), [setting forth] feudalism and the bourgeoisie. She presented herself as the champion of the majority against those despised minorities ("landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, rightists and bad lots (di fu fan you huai) who, she alleged, s t i l l dominated the arts, and demanded instead, as had Ke Qingshi that artists follow the "worker-peasant-soldier" line of Mao's "Talks," producing operas presenting revolutionary heroes and set in the fifteen years since 1949. In her remarks on the mechanics of writing, Jiang Qing advocated the three-in-one (san jiehe; also known as san heyi) combination of Party authority, professional author and representatives of the masses. This method had already been promoted by Lin Biao in the preparation of tales of heroic 8 8 soldier-martyrs like the novel Song of Ouyang Hai (Ouyang Hai zhi ge)~*7 in the mid-1960's, and had the advantage, for Lin and Jiang Qing, of allowing leadership input at any stage of the creative process. The theme of a given work was to be set by political leaders, executed by artists and revised after suggestions from selected readers channelled through the leaders, in a process Jiang Qing later described as "democratic centralism on a broad scale." The concentration on heroism that was to dominate Jiang Qing's theory on the structuring of a work was already forming as she told her audience that "our purpose in producing operas on contemporary themes is mainly to extol C O the positive characters." In this context she cited changes that "leadership" (prinicipally herself) had made to Taking  Tiger Mountain by Strategy, one of five operas performed at the festival which were to become Model Works two years later. The changes had involved reducing the roles played by the negative characters and strengthening the hero Yang Zirong (a process that will be discussed in the next chapter). It is quite apparent from the published speeches that Jiang Qing was committed to a more tightly controlled and p o l i t i c a l l y engaged operatic theatre (as a synechdoche for the arts as a whole) than Peng Zhen or Lu Dingyi, though i t was two years before the exact nature of that theatre was fully revealed. Her struggle with Peng Zhen intensified after the Beijing Opera Festival, as Peng refused her demand that he 89 "give her an opera troupe to reform on her own. y The conflict led both to make statements on the arts in February of 1966:^° Jiang Qing's was the "Summary of the Forum on Work in the Arts with which Comrade Lin Biao Entrusted Comrade Jiang Qing" (Lin Biao tongzhi weituo Jiang Qing tongzhi zhaokai de  budui wenyi gongzuo zuotanhui jiyao), hereafter "Summary." ii ) The "Summary" If the Cultural Revolution was Jiang Qing's Yan'an, as has been suggested above, then the "Summary" was Jiang Qing's "Talks." Like Mao's work, i t came at the start of a political campaign aimed in large part at intellectuals. Both Mao and Jiang Qing chose to refute theories they opposed, leaving ad hominem attacks on the theories' proponents to Chen Boda (at Yan'an) or Yao Wenyuan (in 1965-8), and then to lay down their own rules for the creation of the arts. Finally, both deal primarily with the p o l i t i c a l role of the arts: Lin Biao's commendation of Jiang Qing to the armed forces was an astute one, that "she is very strong politically [emphasis mine: R.K.] on artistic work, and an insider (neihang) in the arts. The literary theories attacked by Jiang Qing in the "Summary" dated from the periods of relatively relaxed control of the arts during the l i f e of the People's Republic: the early 1950's (prior to the attack on Hu Feng), the Hundred Flowers of 1956, and the "blooming and contending" of 1961-2. A l l had subsequently been contested by Party spokesmen; but Jiang 90 Qing f e l t they were s t i l l prevalent, and, like Yao Wenyuan, blamed those who had allowed such theories to be raised, and had then (in her view) protected the offending theorists. An immediate target was Peng Zhen, who had sought to defuse the campaign Yao Wenyuan had launched against against Wu Han by limiting i t to academic debate, and had chastised "scholar-tyrants [Yao himself being the obvious, i f unnamed example] who are always acting tyrannically and trying to overwhelm people with their power."^ Jiang Qing selected for condemnation eight propositions later referred to as the "eight black theories" (heibalun).^ Of these, three dealt with realism: these were "write the truth" advocated by Hu Feng, "the broad path of realism" of Qin Zhaoyang from the Hundred Flowers movement and "deepening realism" raised by Shao Quanlin at the 1962 conference on r u r a l f i c t i o n . At issue, as has been discussed in the introduction above, was whether the writer should portray an individually-conceived or an officially-sanctioned version of r e a l i t y . The realism of Hu Feng was s p e c i f i c a l l y an individual vision;^ 4 Qin Zhaoyang opposed the Soviet doctrine of "socialist realism" with the more ambiguous (in terms of commitment and control) "realism of the socialist age;" and Shao Quanlin's suggestion that thoroughgoing realism was the only valid basis for romanticism implicitly criticised the p o l i t i c a l idealism inherent in the "combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism" 91 formulation. 3 From Jiang Qing's point of view, the unrestrained realism of these three slogans was one which invariably led to the tarnishing of the Party's image by revealing unpalatable truths and condoning emotional traits inappropriate to socialist man. Three other "black theories," this time concerning the artist's choice of material, had arisen in the three years following the Great Leap. Two are associated with Xia Yan, who had been most responsible for the choice of less proletarian and motivational subject matter for films: "opposition to 'the smell of gunpowder'" reflected Xia's disenchantment with the militarism of many Great Leap movies, and was seen by Jiang Qing as an attack on revolutionary heroism. Similarly Xia's intention to "discard classics and challenge orthodoxy" was predictably (and probably rightly) interpreted by Jiang Qing as "discarding the classics of Marxism-Leninism and rebelling against the orthodoxy of people's war" when making movies. And from Zhang Guangnian's "opposition to 'subject matter as the decisive factor"' she inferred opposition to the Party's (or her own) imposition of themes on artists.^ Shao Quanlin's plea for more "middle characters" in fiction, another "black theory," was for Jiang Qing an attempt both to detract from the importance of heroic revolutionary stereotypes and to downplay class struggle, by showing ideas conflicting within an uncommitted individual rather than between classes. Emphasis on class struggle was also the basis for denunciation of Zhou Gucheng's theory that "the spirit of the age is the merging of various trends." Jiang Qing interpreted Mao's view, from "On Contradiction" (Maodun lun)^^ that the dominant force in social change was contradiction, to mean that the opposition of irreconcilable class ideologies was paramount in establishing the s p i r i t of any given period. Zhou had already been scolded by Yao Wenyuan for "bourgeois i d e a l i s t i c thinking" for his view that the opinions of members of different classes could usefully be combined. In her onslaught on the "eight black theories," Jiang Qing chose to attack the same fundamental targets as had Mao at Yan'an: defence of the artist's right to express an individual view of reality, and unwillingness to concentrate their e f f o r t s on praising characters of an established proletarian type pursuing officially sanctioned goals. That such ideas could have persisted into the People's Republic proved to her that "we have been under the dictatorship of a black anti-Party and a n t i - s o c i a l i s t l i n e which i s diametrically opposed to Chairman Mao's thought." This "black line" theory featured in the personal attacks by Yao Wenyuan (inter alia) on Zhou Yang and others who could be singled out as purveyors or defenders of theories inimical to Mao's; i t was also used to discount virtually everything that had been created prior to Jiang Qing's own involvement with Beijing Opera. Such unequivocal condemnation of the former dispensation, 93 in the s p i r i t of Mao's aphorism that "there i s no construction without destruction" (b_u _p_o b_u l i ) , ^  was an essential prerequisite for the creation of a new socialist culture, and the "Summary" expands on the form that culture was to take. To replace the individualist/bourgeois heroes seen as populating the "black line" works, Jiang Qing demanded proletarian "Models" (yangban) featured in "Model Works" (yangbanxi)7^ mostly set in a revised form of Beijing Opera. (The model characters and dramas will be analysed in the next chapter.) As for the environment in which the heroes were to function, Jiang Qing reiterated Mao's injunction that class struggle was under no circumstances to be forgotten. The creative process recommended elsewhere as "three-in-one" appears in the "Summary" as "democratic centralism" (minzhu jizhong zhi), with the emphasis on leadership and popular input at the expense of authorial control. Jiang Qing also offered her own cla r i f i c a t i o n of the combination of "revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism." The realism was of the heightened variety of the six "even mores;" and the romanticism was an emphasis on the glory, rather than the hardship, of revolutionary struggle. The "Summary" offers the most coherent statement of the literary policies of the Cultural Revolution, both the rationale for condemning what had gone before (the "black line"), and for the rules for creating literary models to be emulated throughout the arts. One further speech w i l l be 9 4 considered, dating from November of 1966, when Jiang Qing's star was most clearly in the ascendant. It has been selected for its revelation of Jiang Qing's attitude to the Chinese and Western literary traditions in the context of the appearance of the first eight Model Works. i i i ) "Comrade Jiang Qing's Talk to an Assembly on the Arts"  (Jiang Qing tongzhi zai wenyijie dahui shang de jianghua)''1 79 Even in the much revised text available, this address, largely directed towards the opera company whose endeavours Jiang Qing had controlled during 1966, is her most rhetorically unrestrained statement on the arts. Its purpose was to justify the models by identifying them as the realisation of the literary theories of Mao. In fact, however, the interpretations she offered of Mao's injunctions to "select from the ancient to promote the new" (tuichen chuxin) and "use foreign things for China" (yang wei zhong yong) were so proscriptive as to contradict their original meaning. The purpose of the former, she claimed, vras the production of new, popular national forms, but i f old forms had any connections with ghosts, religion, or the moralities of feudalism or capitalism (as a l l traditional Chinese culture had to some extent) they simply could not be assimilated. Mao's dialectical intent was replaced by a rigid absolutism. Likewise, i t was impossible that anything foreign could benefit her ideal of Chinese socialist art. She dismissed Western "classics" as irrelevant to the present 95 day, and denounced modern Western culture as degenerate and poisonous. Her choice of forms to summarise the corruption of Western culture was a bizarre combination of the popular: rock-and-roll dancing (afei wu), jazz; the immodest: striptease; and the avant-garde remembered from her Shanghai days: impressionism, symbolism, abstractionism, primitivism (yeshoupai), modernism. D. W. Fokkema, then resident in Beijing, observed: "As far as I know, no Chinese authority has ever spoken so disparagingly of Western culture yet with so l i t t l e knowledge of it. " Her object was not to understand Western culture, however, any more than i t was to understand traditional Chinese culture. It was sufficient to assert than neither could be suited to socialist content, and thus, within the letter of Mao's law, both could be discarded. (It is worth noting, however, that in her artistic practice, as in her personal l i f e , Jiang Qing allowed herself more latitude than those she controlled: ballet, in which two of the Model Works were performed, is a foreign form whose Chinese name, balei wu, is merely a transliteration of the French; and the piano, used to accompany a model recital version of The Red  Lantern, is neither Chinese nor proletarian in its origin.) To Jiang Qing's mind, the degenerate traditional and foreign-influenced works had already been replaced by something better: the first eight Model Works, which she claimed as a triumph for the Cultural Revolution, sanctified by the approval of Mao, Lin Biao, Zhou Enlai, Chen Boda, Kang Sheng and others, and welcomed by the people. Though she was actually to continue to intervene in the arts for several years to come, the impression given by the speech is that a mission — the perfecting of unprecedented socialist literary exemplars — had already been accomplished, even i f other work might in future keep her away from the arts. This speech, the l a s t of Jiang Qing's works to be considered here, reveals most clearly the face she presented to the Chinese people in the Cultural Revolution: a radical zealot charged with carrying out Mao's will (or her interpretation of it) by establishing a socialist culture in a society s t i l l polluted by unhealthy ideas. Her crusade on her husband's behalf conveniently complemented her own desire for revenge on those who she f e l t had suppressed her thespian career in the 1930's and spurned her leadership aspirations in the 1950's. In the 1960's, i t was her turn to be dominant. iv) The "Three Prominences" (san tuchu)  Jiang Qing's emphasis on the role of the hero was already evident in the documents discussed above. She was not, of course, the first Chinese authority to propose the portrayal of heroes. Her contribution was to formulate, during the course of the revision of the modern Beijing Operas, a system of stratification that would show off to best advantage their proletarian heroes. This system was the "three prominences." Jiang Qing claimed in her interviews with Roxanne Witke to have 97 discussed i t with Ke Qingshi, who died in 1965, but i t was not officially enunciated until 1968, in an article by her supporter and later culture minister Yu Huiyong: Based on the s p i r i t of Comrade Jiang Qing's directives we have summed up three prominences as an important p r i n c i p l e in depicting characters, viz: of a l l characters, give prominence to positive characters, of positive characters give prominence to heroic characters, of heroic characters give prominence to the most important one,i.e., the central character. 75 A precise ordering of characters was thus set within a given opera (or novel, short story, film, comic-book, painting, etc.): a single central hero or heroine supported by secondary heroic figures, surrounded by acquiescent masses, and opposed by villains. (The same system was also conversely described also as the "three enhances" (san peichen) whereby the portrayal of the villains enhanced that of the positive characters, etc.) Insistence on the "three prominences" was the focus for the transformation of operas from their pre-1964 versions to model form, a process to be described in the next chapter, and thus for the changes throughout the arts in the Cultural Revolution. The effect of the "three prominences" was to reflect a highly s t r a t i f i e d vision of society, with abiding and irreconcilable divisions, recalcitrant enemies striving to thwart the inevitable progress of the proletariat, but vulnerable to exposure and humiliation at the hands of exemplary heroes. Jiang Qing naturally presented the "three prominences" as 98 derived from Mao's writings, particularly the six "even mores" of the "Talks," but there is more to them than that. The most important added ingredient is the pre-eminent socialist hero(ine), as precise a model as possible for the audience to emulate. The "three prominences" formula sought to provide the ideal form for the propagation of a political message. When, following Jiang Qing's f a l l , c r i t i c s immediately attacked i t , i t was generally from the point of view of the morality conveyed, rather than the vehicle that carried i t . One exception was Mao Dun, who likened i t s "formalism" to the "three unities" of the neo-classical French theatre of Racine and Corneille, as a device to draw literature away from realistic portrayal of action and character. Certainly i t was anti-realistic in the sense that Jiang Qing had criticised realism in her "Summary." The central heroes of the Model Works, as analysis of their collective features in the next chapter w i l l show, were grounded firmly in her own idealism concerning the working class. Thus Jiang Qing and Yao Wenyuan committed themselves to the promotion of a literature that was demonstrably Chinese, accessible to a mass audience, and a suitable vehicle for a normative vision of man and society, untainted by the influence of the "self." For a look at the form this new literature was to take, we shall next consider the Model Works. 99 CHAPTER 3 THE PATTERN FOR LITERARY CREATION:  THE MODEL WORKS The first group of Model Works sponsored by Jiang Qing was presented in 1966. Of the eight models of that year, five were in the form of "Modern Revolutionary Beijing Opera" (geming  xiandai jingju).1 During the next half decade, other works were gradually added to the model corpus, including another four operas. (The non-literary forms, initially ballet and symphonic music, and later painting and sculpture, w i l l not be discussed here). The nine Model Operas were in a modified form of the century-old Beijing Opera. Many of the modifications were in the production, where some Western technique was incorporated, including elaborate stage-settings and lighting, and an orchestra augmented with brass, woodwind and a string section; these aspects (which have been introduced elsewhere ) will not be considered in the analysis of the literary model in this chapter. Instead, concentration will be on the texts of the operas. (The nine Model Operas are: Taking Tiger Mountain by  Strategy (Zhiqu Weihushan), The Red Lantern (Hongdeng j i ) , Shajiabang, On the Docks (Haigang), Ode to Dragon River (Longjiang song), The Red Detachment of Women (Hongse niangzi  jun), Raid on the White Tiger Regiment (Qixi Baihutuan), Fighting on the Plain (Pingyuan zuozhan), Azalea Mountain 100 (Dujuan shan). ) These models were by no means the f i r s t Chinese operas to have contemporary settings. Experimental modern pieces had been performed in the Republican period by opera companies including that of Mei Lanfang, the greatest player of female roles in the history of the Beijing t h e a t r e . " G u e r i l l a theatre" troupes in the Jiangxi Soviet performed operas depicting contemporary events, and The White-haired Girl was performed in Yan'an in 1945. Further works with modern themes appeared after the communist victory in 1949; among the first was Raid on the White Tiger Regiment, a production of the Beijing Opera company serving with the Chinese forces in Korea; i t was among the f i r s t group of models. In fact, a l l of the Model Operas were in existence in some form before the 1964 Festival of Operas on Contemporary Themes. Jiang Qing's contribution was not the creation of the operas, but their transformation to models, a task to which she exercised herself relentlessly for a decade. A hyperbole often repeated in eulogies of the Model Works was that "every word and every phrase, every tone and every beat, i s soaked through with the heart's blood of Comrade Jiang Qing."^ Immediately following her f a l l (when the Model Operas were s t i l l highly regarded in o f f i c i a l circles), Jiang Qing was portrayed as merely claiming the credit due to other state leaders (Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai etc.) for the sponsorship of the models,7 but the contemporary evidence of her 101 decisive involvement is considerably more convincing. What were Jiang Qing's reasons for promoting "Model Works?" The pre-1966 leadership had given extra weight to novels they regarded as desirable by designating them "keybooks" (zhongdian Q shu) and printing them in large numbers. The "keybooks" presented human models for emulation (as for example Ouyang Hai), but the books themselves were not presented as models for a l l other literary endeavour. The use of "model" (yangban) to describe works of art (here xi_ "drama" includes ballet, music, etc.) originated with Jiang Qing.^ Her purpose in promulgating the Model Works was to ensure the greatest possible prominence to her own views of revolutionary struggle and revolutionary heroism in order to promote public acceptance of those views. By transforming the nation's culture, she believed she could also transform society. The model status of works sponsored by Jiang Qing was also intended to set them aside from whatever had preceded them. The worthlessness of the indigenous and imported art that she condemned in her statements of the mid-1960's was contrasted to her achievements in creating the Model Works. A claim reportedly made on her behalf by her Gang of Four colleague Zhang Chunqiao was that "from the Internationale [written in 1871 by Eugene Pottier] to the Model Works is a complete blank (yipian kongbai)."*^ And Jiang Qing was also characteristically immodest in her own claim that "hundreds of years of the bourgeoisie and thousands of years of feudalism had 102 their influence. But they are nothing to be afraid of — weren't they a l l cast down when opera was reformed and the [first] eight Model Works released?"11 To understand the nature of the literary model epitomised by the operas and later applied in fiction, we will first examine the development of the operas from their pre-1964 texts to the model versions; secondly, by examination of a l l nine opera texts we will extrapolate the common features that define a Model Work. I. The Revision Process What did Jiang Qing seek to put into the operas that was not there in the 1964 versions? First, her own idealisation of how the proletariat behaves, what i t means to be a Party member and how revolutionary struggle works. Secondly, the history of the Communist Party from a Cultural Revolution perspective, emphasising Mao's own contribution. It is axiomatic in Marxism that the proletariat is the most politically advanced class; Jiang Qing sought to present a stage proletariat strong in its resistance to oppression, easily won to the cause of the Communist Party, and almost without human failings. For example: Jiang Qing demanded of an actress portraying a girl (Chang Bao in Taking Tiger Mountain) recalling the murder of her mother that she no longer slump down and cover her face with her hands. "Working-class people don't sit down or bury their heads when they cry," Jiang Qing said, "they 1 n cry standing." 103 The stage p r o l e t a r i a t , despite i t s capacity to defy oppression, cannot quite save itself, either by overthrowing the oppressors or identifying hidden class enemies. This is the role reserved for the Party, represented by the central heroic figures. Where the masses of the Model Operas differ from the peasants of Hai Rui Dismissed from Office is only that they are of the same class origin as their saviours. Changes made in the presentation of Party members contrived to show them simultaneously absolutely loyal to the Party leadership (meaning here, as for Yao Wenyuan, Mao in particular) and capable of feats of initiative. When a human dam i s proposed to combat flooding in Ode to Dragon River, the Party members are the first to volunteer: Uncle Ajian: We are Party Members ... Li Zhitian et a l : Let's go. 13 Wartime opera communists are f u l l of physical courage: Yan Weicai of the Korean-war opera Raid on the White Tiger Regiment claims that "no danger however huge can stop/a Communist Party member."*4 Jiang Qing's understanding of revolutionary struggle, as revealed in changes she directed in specific operas, was derived from a simplistic reading of Mao's essays on contradiction. She saw contradiction as meaning only conflict against an enemy — armed struggle with a military foe, or class struggle with a concealed traitor. In the Model Operas, the conflict found expression in oppression committed by national or 104 class enemies and revenged by the proletariat. A l l of the operas with a c i v i l i a n setting contain a class enemy who is unmasked by the hero or heroine, most of these enemies having been added to the early scripts on Jiang Qing's orders before model status was accorded. Jiang Qing's own recollection of her revision of the operas, as recounted to Roxanne Witke, was f u l l of vicious attacks by unscrupulous enemies — Zhou Yang, Peng Zhen, Lin Biao, etc. — who tried to downplay the element of class struggle. Thus in her memory, li f e imitated art as she overcame class enemies within the leadership of the revolutionary ranks in order to emphasise class struggle on the stage. Jiang Qing's preoccupation with scores that must be settled and traitors who must be rooted out parallels Yao Wenyuan's constant vigilance for enemies, and is symptomatic of the paranoia of the leading radicals in the Cultural Revolution. The operas' emphasis on the role of Mao in the history of the Chinese revolution can be seen as Jiang Qing's contribution to the perpetuation of the myth of Mao launched by Lin Biao in the army after the purge of Peng Dehuai. Lin's major contribution to the deification of the Chairman was the " l i t t l e red book" Quotations of Chairman Mao, (Mao Zhuxi yulu)^ a collection which presented Mao's thoughts as (in Stuart Schram's words) "absolutely immutable and universally v a l i d truths,"1-' and Lin's effusive introduction was the touchstone for subsequent eulogies of Mao.1^ 105 When Mao's writings are quoted in the Model Works, they have immediate efficacy in winning doubters over to the cause of the central hero or heroine. When the peasants of Ode to Dragon River balk at making the sacrifices the Party leadership demands, the heroine Jiang Shuiying's quotation of Mao's essay on Norman Bethune (a passage included in the "patriotism and internationalism" section of the " l i t t l e red book"*7) wins them over straight away.*8 Jiang Shuiying's aria, which follows the quotation, drives home the decisive importance of Mao's writings in the operas: The precious book I hold warms a l l our minds, Within our breasts the red sun shines, ... Reading the precious book, we hear the Party's call, Like drums of war inspiring one and a l l . 19 Mao is referred to in a l l of the operas, and extensively quoted in many. He and his words are the inspiration of guerillas in the war against Japan, Chinese soldiers in Korea, post-1949 peasants and stevedores and many others. "Long live Chairman Mao" are the last words of heroes executed by their enemies.^ Key to the idealisation of proletarians and Party members, the emphasis on conflict, and the increased importance of Mao, was the transformation of the the central heroes of the operas, who underwent considerable change during the revision process supervised by Jiang Qing. This transformation was from heroic individual to heroic stereotype (dianxing) embodying Jiang Qing's ideals of the proletarian and the communist and promoting the myth of Mao. Changes made to three operas will 106 be described to illustrate the acquisition of model features. The three are Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, The Red Lantern and Sha.jiabang. i) Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy This was the most extensively revised of a l l the Model Works. Jiang Qing's lengthy involvement with i t is the source of the Cultural Revolution cliche about perfectionism: "ten years to refine one opera" (shinian mo yi xi). 2 1 This revision process 99 has received some scholarly attention, and discussion of i t here will be limited to one key element: the transformation of the hero Yang Zirong. Taking Tiger Mountain is an adaptation of the most exciting episode in Qu Bo's military romance Tracks in the Snowy Forest  (Linhai xueyuan), which recounts the exploits of a small Red Army unit behind enemy lines in the latter years of the c i v i l war of 1945-9. Yang Zirong, the unit's scout, poses as an outlaw in order to i n f i l t r a t e the mountain stronghold of a bandit tyrant allied to the Nationalists and smuggle in his unit while the bandits are drunkenly celebrating their leader's birthday. The novel, and early operatic versions of the story, presented Yang as a swashbuckling hero whose impersonation included (mildly) racy stories and coarse manners. Though a dedicated communist of proletarian origin, Yang Zirong, in pre-model incarnations, also had the flavour of the traditional "stout fellow" (haohan), rough and jocular as well as earnest and 107 revolutionary. In the interests of Jiang Qing's notions of revolutionary purity, i f at the expense of realistic portrayal, Yang's language, rakish behaviour, posture and clothing were smartened up. More important, his heroics were placed firmly in the context of discipline loyalty to the Party and Mao. As expressed in an article written by (or for) the company performing the opera, and in the offical translation: While delineating his [Yang's] indomitable courage and soaring spirit, we also give expression to the steadiness and poise, the sagacity and alertness in his make-up. The description of these facets rests firmly on one essential point, the soul of the hero Yang Zirong, and that is "the morning sun in his heart" — a red heart that is i n f i n i t e l y loyal to Chairman Mao and his thought ... without Mao Zedong thought, Yang Zirong would certainly be reduced to a nincompoop, a vulgar and miserable mountebank ... 24 Comparison of the novel and opera versions of a single incident illustrate the change in Yang Zirong. It comes as Yang volunteers for the role of bandit impersonator and outlines to his commanding officer his qualifications for the job. The i n i t i a l points he makes are the same in both versions: possession of a map coveted by the tyrant, knowledge of bandit slang and ability to act the bandit. There is a subtle difference in his final reason, however, and thereafter the conversation takes a very different turn: a) "Fourth ..." Yang Zirong paused briefly, his eyes flashing stern and resolute, "... I have faith in my heartfelt loyalty to the Party and the people." "You think these things w i l l guarantee victory?" 108 "Yes! That's what I believe." "You're wrong! ... The fourth criterion is only the weapon enabling you to i n f i l t r a t e the enemy camp. It can only help you crawl into the enemy's belly. That isn't the main problem today, the key is how you can carry on our work when you're in his belly." 25 b) Yang Zirong: The t h i r d condition i s the most important ... Commander: That is a Liberation Armyman's heartfelt loyalty to the Party and Chairman Mao! Yang Zirong: Commander, you understand me! Commander: Old Yang, this is no ordinary task! Yang Zirong: Commander! A Communist Party member always obeys the Party's c a l l Taking for himself the toughest tasks of a l l ... Moving mountains like the foolish old man, I'll get through a l l hardships, be sure I can ... .26 Loyalty to the people in the original version has been replaced in the model by loyalty to Mao, and that loyalty is not an individual trait, but typical of communist solidarity. The implicit role-model for his mission is no longer drawn from traditional fiction (the monkey-king Sun Wukong) but from Mao's writings (the foolish old man whose story is used as a parable in 97 the third of the constantly-read articles (lap san pian)z'). Finally, i t is inconceivable that the Model Opera Yang could be contradicted by his commanding officer as happens in the novel. Profession of loyalty to the Party and the chairman is guaranteed to win any argument, and anyway, the hero is never wrong. So while the early Yang is forced to elaborate on his plan, the model Yang launches into an aria about what i t means to be a Party member. The typification (dianxinghua) of Yang to a "scout 1 0 9 hero of the Chinese Liberation Army armed with revolutionary no courage of the revolutionary proletariat is complete. i i ) The Red Lantern 2 9 Another opera on which Jiang Qing had early and decisive impact was The Red Lantern, and here, as in Taking Tiger  Mountain, her emphasis was on the hero, in this case the railwayman and underground communist organiser Li Yuhe. The story of Li and his family's resistance to Japanese occupation enjoyed considerable popularity in a number of regional operatic forms in the early 1960's. Two Beijing opera versions were performed at the 1964 festival: The Red Lantern, the chosen vessel for Jiang Qing's reform, and Naturally the  Revolution Will Have Successors (Geming z i you houlairen), on performed by a company from Harbin. The revision of the opera, as recounted by Jiang Qing and Qian Haoliang, the actor who played Li Yuhe, took place against a background of conflict with "enemies," in this case headed by O l deputy culture minister Lin Mohan. At issue was the portrayal of the hero — should i t follow "realism" or the "three prominences?" The "enemies" wanted Li to look like a middle-aged railwayman (shabby and slightly stooped) as opposed to the upright and martial posture favoured by Jiang Qing, and to be portrayed as more or less equal to his adoptive mother and daughter, rather than standing above them. Jiang Qing's L i Yuhe (the one that appears in the model version) is, of course, 110 prominent and supreme. The model L i Yuhe most clearly epitomises Jiang Qing's romanticised proletariat in his fi n a l martyrdom (he is one of only two heroes to die), a scene which was purportedly written by her. Despite the torture he has undergone, he remains erect and elegant; as Jiang Qing explained to Roxanne Witke: "Since he has just gotten [sic] out of prison, l o g i c a l l y his clothing and hair should be dishevelled. But because he is on the verge of becoming a martyr, we have made him appear clean and tidy, white and pure, for he must present a dignified image. We don't go in for naturalism." 3 2 Li Yuhe's relationship with his mother and daughter, and with the villainous Japanese commander Hatoyama, also changed in the revision process; the end result being to set the hero above the other characters. Here is Qian Haoliang's summary of the technical aspects of the revision: Comrade Jiang Qing required us to use the best of everything in portraying the heroic proletarian figure of Li Yuhe. That is to say, the best music, the best singing, the most f o r c e f u l gestures, and the most important positions on stage should be used to show off the character of Li Yuhe, and make his heroic form more prominent, higher and finer. 33 The model Li is also purged of a l l feelings that stand between him and his mission, the delivery to his comrades of a secret code. In some early versions, Li hid his daughter to protect her from capture, but Jiang Qing i n s i s t e d that his responsibility was to Mao, the Party and his class rather 1 1 1 than his family. Consequently he welcomes the readiness with which she faces death with him on the Japanese execution ground. Though Li's role is primary, his mother and daughter, the secondary heroines, remain strong characters. Each dominates in a powerful scene: Granny Li as she recounts their tragic family history to the girl Tiemei, and Tiemei herself as she vows revenge after her father and grandmother are k i l l e d , and inherits the spirit of resistance symbolised by the red lantern of the titl e . The villain Hatoyama was considerably reduced to prevent him from stealing the show. The textbook on the Cultural Revolution version of Marxist literary theory mentioned above stressed that Hatoyama's role should be as a f o i l for Li Yuhe, with his evil traits (oppressor-class attitude, cruelty, conniving, etc.) precisely complementing Li's virtues (proletarian world-view, uprightness, resourcefulness, etc.), in accordance with the "three prominences."^4 In this case, however, as in the other operas, the "three prominences" does not work quite according to its formulation. Hatoyama and the rest of the opera v i l l a i n s do not enhance (peichen) a l l of the positive characters, only the central hero. Model opera v i l l a i n s are always strong enough to oppress or dupe the masses, and even secondary heroes, gallantly though they may defy them, cannot overcome them. It is Li Yuhe who gains the moral (though not the military) victory over Hatoyama. 1 1 2 i i i ) Shaliabang-33 In this, the third opera to be considered, revision involved a change in the primary heroic role from one character to another and also a change in title. The original text, Sparks in the  Reeds (Lutang huozhong), centred on the underground communist and teahouse proprietress Aqing's wife, who first protects a detachment of Red Army wounded from the nationalist forces, then cleverly engineers the wedding at which the nationalist officers Of. are captured. The changes, suggested by Mao and carried out over the next two years by Jiang Qing, were made to emphasise armed struggle (which Mao had led) rather than underground resistance (in which Liu Shaoqi had been engaged) as decisive in winning the c i v i l war; as such, they are historical, as well as a r t i s t i c revision. The new t i t l e , Shajiabang, is the name of the fictitious village in which the action occurs, and the new hero is Guo Jianguang, the officer commanding the wounded troops. The elevation of Guo was achieved through complementary techniques described in two set phrases (chengyu): "the boat stands t a l l as the waters rise" (shui zhang chuan  gao), i.e., increasing the intensity of the plot shows the hero more decisive; and "the rock emerges as the waters subside" (shui luo shi chu), i.e., diminution of other characters makes the hero more forceful by contrast. A military climax replaced the wedding hoax to downplay the role of Aqing's wife, and Guo's lines were increased by incorporating those of another character from the 1964 text and adding a long and 113 intricate aria in which he summarises the strategic balance, his loyalty to Mao and his confidence in victory. Even after these changes, Shajiabang is nearer than any of the operas to having two principal heroes. Guo Jianguang, a composite cobbled together from two characters in the original, has none of the verve of Aqing's wife; the latter, despite the change of ending, s t i l l has the opera's best scene, as she conceals the whereabouts of the wounded in a fast-talking "battle of wits" (zhidou) with enemy commanders. Dissatisfacton with the disposition of heroic characters may have been the cause for Jiang Qing's unwillingness to hear the opera praised. Revisions in other operas from original to model form similarly focussed on making the central figure dominant and embodying the idealised proletarian image desired by Jiang Qing. A further change that took place in the two operas with post-1949 settings, On the Docks and Ode to Dragon River was the inclusion of a concealed "class enemy," whose unmasking by the heroine was both a lesson for the audience in how to practise class struggle and a warning to those whose vigilance might be reduced. Doubters in both operas (those believing in personal fulfillment or the interests of a small group over revolutionary altruism) were shown as deluded by enemies rather than harbouring genuine grievances. Once the revision process was complete, the texts were inviolable. The model for stage performance was the version enshrined on celluloid and in definitive editions 114 (biaoben); these editions, in addition to the text and musical score, had precise instructions on sets, l i g h t i n g , choreography, costume, make-up and stage properties, even down to the exact measurements of the red pencil and notebook carried (but not used) by the commanding officer in the volunteering scene of Taking Tiger Mountain.4^ The point of a l l this detail was to ensure that there could be no interpretation by an individual director, or improvisation by an actor, that would differ from the official version. It is a paradox that absolute obedience was required in operas portraying heroic acts of revolutionary initiative. II. Common Features of Character and Plot i) "Three Prominences" Characterisation Beijing opera, in common with other Chinese operatic forms, has always presented characters in personality types, divisible into genres and subgenres, readily identifiable by their clothing, actions and singing styles. (The characteristics of the various roles are described in William Dolby's study k_ History of Chinese Drama.4*) The Model Operas of the modern Beijing theatre likewise present a set of character types, though different from those of the traditional theatre. In some cases the characteristics coincide: the stooped and shifty traitors of On the Docks and Ode to Dragon  River correspond to the clowns (chou) of earlier dramas. In 115 other cases, characters from the modern dramas draw from more than one traditional character type: Granny Li of The Red  Lantern, a beldame (laodan) role, also adopts the male warrior (wusheng) style when times toughen; and the actress portraying Jiang Shuiying in Ode To Dragon River was required to perform not only in the ingenue (qingyi) style she learned in childhood, but also in the woman warrior (wudan) style. The major differences in the characterisation of the traditional and modern Beijing stages, according to those who directed opera reform, was that the modern stage was dominated by the figures of workers, peasants and soldiers, rather than the ruling-class figures of the past. This new set of stereotypes will be presented here in the order suggested by the "three prominences": central heroes, secondary heroes, masses and vi l l a i n s . Thereafter another group w i l l be introduced, the "turnabout characters" (zhuanbian renwu). Though their role is not explicit within the "three prominences" formula, they appear in several of the operas, and are significant in having the only roles with any hint of development or ambiguity. Within these four broad character types w i l l be found a l l the dramatis personae of the Model Operas and almost a l l of the characters of Cultural Revolution fiction. a. Central Heroes Each of the model opera has a single central hero or heroine, who is the focus of the action. A l l of them drawn 1 1 6 from the groups that comprise the broadly defined "proletariat" (wuchan j i e j i "the unpropertied class" rather than gongren j i e j i "industrial working class," which i s also generally translated "proletariat"), i.e., workers, peasants and soldiers. But these are no ordinary proletarians; they embody the unity of revolutionary ideals with reality, of revolutionary with scientific nature, of universality (gongxing) with individuality (gexing), they are the refined and concentrated crystallisation, true, good and wonderful, of the proletariat. 42 These are mature men and women, Party members whose loyalties are primarily to Mao Zedong. None is conspicuously married at the time of the action, and Li Yuhe is the only one with family commitments. Their class and Party affiliations take the place of family in their thinking. Thus they are free to work whole-heartedly in the revolutionary cause. A l l have a personal history of suffering at the hands of oppressors, and are inspired to revenge by the present sufferings of others; their work is rewarded by final triumph. Two, however, Li Yuhe and Hong Changqing of The Red Detachment of Women, are executed by their enemies before victory is won. The central heroes are of two kinds, military and civilian. The five military heroes, a l l men, are: Yang Zirong (Taking  Tiger Mountain), Yan Weicai (Raid on the White Tiger Regiment), Guo Jianguang (Shajiabang), Hong Changqing (The Red Detachment) and Zhao Yonggang (Fighting on the Plain). The operas in which they appear concentrate on the battle with an enemy better armed but lacking a mass base or a righteous cause. War allows 117 these heroes to exhibit daring and resourcefulness as they outwit and overcome their enemies. These are glamourous roles; a l l disguise themselves to infiltrate enemy territory - - Zhao Yonggang dons three different disguises as he destroys a munitions store of the occupying Japanese army and k i l l s i t s commander. Subtler qualities are required of the c i v i l i a n hero and heroines, who are Li Yuhe (The Red Lantern), Fang Haizhen (On  the Docks), Ke Xiang (Azalea Mountain) and Jiang Shuiying (Ode to Dragon River). Like the soldier heroes, they face an external threat, either from a military enemy or climatic emergency, and further have to combat a traitor. The three women must also educate a misguided colleague in the process. Jiang Shuiying, the only peasant among the central heroic characters, is representative of this type. She is the model of a peasant Party cadre. At the suggestion of her Party superiors, she plans to build a dam and flood a f e r t i l e strip of her own Dragon River brigade's land in order to divert water to drought-stricken neighbours. The brigade leader (who is responsible for agricultural production) i s appalled at the flooding of valuable crops, and a prosperous peasant is loath to lose his private plot, but both are won over by Jiang Shuiying's selfless example and timely reading of Mao on Bethune. When the uncompleted dam is threatened by high waters, Shuiying leads the peasants in forming a human dam. Finally she exposes the 118 concealed v i l l a i n , a former l a n d l o r d , as he t r i e s to sabotage the dam. Thus she conquers nature, the c l a s s enemy and the doubts of a colleague. Most p r a i s e d about the opera and i t s heroine was the "Longjiang s t y l e " (Longjiang fengge), encapsulated i n t h i s passage of p r a i s e by an e l d e r l y peasant supporter: I n o r d e r t o c a r e f o r the l i v e l i h o o d of the commune members and l e s s e n t h e burden on the s t a t e , S h u i y i n g , s i c k as she i s , has been s l a v i n g day and n i g h t i n the p a d d y - f i e l d s . She gets up a t crack of dawn to b o i l d r i n k i n g - w a t e r f o r the peasants and mend t o o l s . At n i g h t she goes from house t o house h e l p i n g p e o p l e w i t h t h e i r t r o u b l e s and o r g a n i s i n g work. These l a s t few days her eyes have been red w i t h f a t i g u e and she's l o s t w e i g h t , but she j u s t works h a r d e r and never complains. 43 These q u a l i t i e s combine w i t h J i a n g Shuiying's f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h Mao's w r i t i n g s and a c u t e n e s s t o c l a s s s t r u g g l e t o make her t h e paradigm f o r l a t e r peasant cadre heroes i n f i c t i o n and f i l m . They embody the d e s i r e o f t h a t f a c t i o n p r o m o t i n g t he "Yan'an Way" t o p r o l e t a r i a n i s e the p e a s a n t r y , downplaying l o v e f o r land, crops and f a m i l y i n favour of s t a t e , p o l i t i c s and Party. The nine opera heroes e x h i b i t more common character t r a i t s ( r e s o l u t i o n , courage, v i g i l a n c e , c l a s s love and hatred) than i n d i v i d u a l o n e s . Though e a c h was s u p p o s e d t o c o m b i n e u n i v e r s a l i t y w i t h i n d i v i d u a l i t y , t h e f o r m e r q u a l i t y i n v a r i a b l y p r e d o m i n a t e s , f o r the c e n t r a l heroes were e s s e n t i a l l y to be emulated as models ra t h e r than understood as people. 1 1 9 b. Secondary Heroes The secondary heroes serve as staunch supporters to the central heroes, orchestrating praise for them, emphasising their close links with their colleagues and the people (lest the heroics of the central figures be seen to be individualistic and insufficiently mass-based). As such, their roles are as "stars showing off the moon, green leaves highlighting a red flower."44 Pride of place among the secondary heroic characters must go to the revolutionary grannies who appear in four of the Model Works. Militant matriarchs are a stock type in the traditional Beijing repertory (especially in operas about the Yang family);4-* but these characters serve another purpose as well: their maltreatment at the hands of villains — a l l are shot or tortured — inspires the hero to righteous class revenge. Take, for example,the Korean Aunt Choe (Cui Daniang) in Raid on the White  Tiger Regiment. Herself the mother of a soldier, she voices popular adoration of the Chinese army and their heroic representative Yan Weicai. When South Korean troops burn her v i l l a g e , Aunt Choe leads the v i l l a g e r s i n defying and denouncing them, and is shot, first by the Korean commander and then, fatally, by their American advisor. Her death is a "blood debt" (xue zhai) to be exacted by Yan Weicai.4^ Other secondary heroic characters include the commander in Taking Tiger Mountain (indicating support for Yang Zirong from his Party and army superiors), the village organisers Li Sheng (Fighting on the Plain) and Aqing's wife (Shajiabang), 120 e p i t o m i s i n g c i v i l i a n s u p p o r t f o r m i l i t a r y h e r o e s , and the young g i r l a c t i v i s t A l i a n , who l e a d s o t h e r young p e a s a n t s i n s u p p o r t of J i a n g S h u i y i n g i n Ode t o Dragon R i v e r , and u r g e s d o u b t e r s t o r e f o r m . C h a r a c t e r s l i k e t h e s e r e c u r c o n s t a n t l y i n C u l t u r a l R evolution f i c t i o n . The secondary h e r o i c c h a r a c t e r s may o f f e r defiance t o enemies and l e a d e r s h i p to comrades, but they do not have the w h e r e w i t h a l t o r e s o l v e the p roblems posed i n the o p e r a s . For example, L i Sheng's h e r o i c a c t of d e f i a n c e a g a i n s t a Japanese commander i s e s s e n t i a l l y a f u t i l e gesture, l e a d i n g to the death of a m i l i t a n t granny. Only the hero Zhao Yonggang can overcome the enemy. c. The Masses The major f u n c t i o n s of the l e s s e r p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s are to s u f f e r ( i n the operas w i t h pre-1949 s e t t i n g s ) , and thus arouse a p r o t e c t i v e i n s t i n c t i n the c e n t r a l hero; to o f f e r e n t h u s i a s t i c support to a m i l i t a r y hero's plans l i k e the women s o l d i e r s of The Red Detachment; or t o be i n i t i a l l y u n e n t h u s i a s t i c t o w a r d s the c e n t r a l f i g u r e but be won over by her ( o r h i s ) example and teaching. This l a t t e r group i n c l u d e s the p a r t i s a n s of Azalea Mountain, who are transformed from a band of brigands to d i s c i p l i n e d troops by the P a r t y r e p r e s e n t a t i v e Ke Xiang, and the p r o s p e r o u s peasant Chang Fu of Ode t o Dragon R i v e r , whose devotion to h i s p r i v a t e p l o t of land obscures h i s view of p u b l i c i n t e r e s t u n t i l J i a n g Shuiying's s e l f l e s s n e s s shows him the 121 e r r o r o f h i s way s . C i v i l i a n masses a r e o f t e n p a s s i v e i n t h e i r s u f f e r i n g ; t h i s g r o u p o f l u n c h i n g w o r k e r s i n T h e Red L a n t e r n may g r u m b l e , b u t t h e y c a n n o t change t h e i r l o t : Member o f t h e masses E: S a l e swoman , g i v e me a b o w l o f g r u e l . Wha t s o r t o f t a s t e do y ou c a l l t h i s ? I t ' s a l l mou l dy ! A : Y e a h , t h e r e ' s a l l k i n d s o f s t u f f i n t h e r a t i o n s . S a l e swoman : T h e r e ' s n o t h i n g we can do abou t i t . B: U g h ! ( c r u n c h e s a p i e c e o f g r i t a nd s p i t s i t o u t ) B r o k e my t o o t h on i t ! A : I t ' s f u l l o f g r i t ! B: We j u s t d o n ' t g e t t r e a t e d l i k e humans. A: Hush now, y o u ' l l o n l y g e t i n t o t r o u b l e . B: How c a n we e a t i t ? We c a n ' t k e e p g o i n g l i k e t h i s . 47 Such d e f e a t i s m among t h e masses does n o t t a l l y w i t h t h e d e c i s i v e r o l e a s t h e make r s o f h i s t o r y a s s s i g n e d them i n Mao ' s w r i t i n g s . Howeve r , i n t h e same o p e r a , a member o f t h e masses does t a k e some a c t i o n i n t h e c a u s e o f t h e h e r o . A s u f f e r i n g n e i g h b o r , i n g r a t i t u d e f o r t h e L i ' s h e l p , d i s g u i s e s h e r s e l f a s T i e m e i t o draw away t h e n a t i o n a l i s t s o l d i e r s who a r e s h adow i ng h e r . M o s t l y , howeve r , t h e y a r e p a s s i v e and h e l p l e s s b e f o r e t h e c e n t r a l h e r o o r h e r o i n e i n t e r v e n e s . d . V i l l a i n s The C h i n e s e o p e r a t r a d i t i o n o f f e r e d r i c h p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r t h e d i v e r t i n g p o r t r a y a l o f w i c k e d n e s s , and t h e v i l l a i n s o f t h e M o d e l Ope r a s , even a f t e r b e i n g s c a l e d down t o p r e v e n t them f r o m u p s t a g i n g t h e h e r o e s , a r e o f t e n more c o l o u r f u l t h a n t h e i r v i r t u o u s c o n q u e r o r s . A l l o f t h e v i l l a i n s a r e m i d d l e - a g e d and 1 2 2 male (as is true of almost a l l the wicked characters in Cultural Revolution literature), and they f a l l into two main categories: obvious enemies (who pose a military threat) and concealed traitors. Three of the military operas feature a foreign invader as the chief villain, two Japanese and one American. These are brutal men whose low cunning is no match for the hero. The Japanese at least are prepared to die fighting, while the American advisor (of Raid on the White Tiger Regiment) tries to escape and leave his South Korean allies to their fate. Their Chinese counterparts, usually bandits affiliated to the nationalist army, are as cruel as the foreign oppressors, but rather more intelligent and initially suspicious of the deceptions of their communist adversaries. For example, the Viper (Dushedan) of Azalea Mountain is astute enough to capture and mistreat Granny Du, the adoptive mother of the partisan leader Lei Gang, using her as bait for a trap. Lei Gang, a mere secondary hero, succumbs, but the central heroine Ke Xiang leads a surprise attack to rescue the captives. Concealed traitors are hidden only from the other characters: they are immediately revealed to the reader by their place at the bottom of the cast lists, and to the viewer by their stooped posture and green stage lighting. They struggle to undermine and destroy the central heroic figures, and to turn others away from the heroes' path. Thus Huang Guozhong, the villain of Ode to Dragon River, not only tries to sabotage the 123 dam built to divert water to needy brigades, but also tries to foment opposition to the heroine's plan among those concerned with personal and local enrichment. In the denouement, Huang is revealed as a former landlord's b a i l i f f ; he is thus of an oppressor class, and a l l his actions can be explained as stemming from his class origin. The heroine's struggle with him is therefore class struggle. Similarly Qian Shouwei, villain of On the Docks, is of a capitalist class by virtue of his past association with foreign bosses. His conniving is also presented as typical of his class. There are also lesser villains: the sidekicks and stooges of the oppressors. These include the brutal Old Fourth, bailiff of the Southern Tyrant in The Red Detachment of Women, and the sinister but inept Indestructibles (Zhong jingang) who cluster about the Vulture in Taking Tiger Mountain. They, and the enemy soldiers of the military operas, wind up sharing the fate of their masters. e. "Turnabout Characters" As the central hero's struggle with the villain represents a dramatisation of "contradictions with the enemy," so the transformation of immature or doubting characters symbolises "contradictions among the people," which had been the focus of Mao's 1957 anti-rightist speech. These are similar to the "middle characters" (zhongjian renwu), as condemned in Jiang Qing's "Summary, " in their i n i t i a l 124 reluctance to accept the socialist orientation commended in the works in which they appear. But while the "middle characters" of the rural fiction of the early 1960's may persist in their conservatism and doubting, and be sympathetically portrayed nonetheless, the doubts of the "turnabout characters" are presented as delusions engendered by weakness of vision and enemy deception, and must be rejected wholeheartedly as the characters transform themselves from doubt to certainty and follow the lead of the hero(ine). Lei Gang of Azalea Mountain is a secondary hero who is also a "turnabout character." He is heroic in that he is fearless in his opposition to the Viper, but flawed by impetuosity and the trust he places in his lieutenant Wen Qijiu. When the Party emmissary Ke Xiang assumes leadership of the band, Lei Gang (egged on by Wen) opposes her lenient treatment of captives, and her restraint in not launching futile counter-offensives. His conversion comes as, languishing in the Viper's j a i l after his foolhardy attempt to rescue Mama Du, he hears of Ke Xiang's own debt of blood (the murder of her husband by the Viper), which she is awaiting the propitious moment to repay. Enlightened by Ke's example, Lei sees through Wen's blandishments and shoots him. A non-heroic character who turns away from delusion is the young dock-worker Han Xiaoqiang in On the Docks. Though himself the son of a docker and thus of solid proletarian background, his ambition is to go to sea, and he is distressed by his job on 125 land. His disillusionment is heightened by the artful villain Qian Shouwei's insistence that dock work is demeaning to an educated young man like himself. A significant feature of Han's conversion, like that of Lei Gang, is the recalling of past sufferings (in this case the tragic death of his own father) by the heroine and an elderly stalwart, here a retired docker. The youngster sees the importance of his job, realises the true reason for Qian's apparent concern, and destroys his application for a job away from the docks. I n i t i a l neglect of revolutionary goals or class struggle in favour of otherwise laudable economic concerns is the error of Li Zhitian, the brigade leader in Ode to Dragon River and another "turnabout character." Li i s persuaded, by the sufferings of drought-stricken neighbours, by Jiang Shuiying's example and by her quoting of Mao texts, to believe a constantly reiterated tenet of Cultural Revolution Maoism — that p o l i t i c a l correctness and class struggle are more important than considerations of agricultural or industrial production, and actually lead (at least in the ideal world of the Model Operas) to greater productivity. The "turnabout characters" complete the spectrum of Model Opera dramatis personnae. Theirs is a role that is frequently seen in expanded form in novels modelled on the operas, since i t is only through them that an author can deal with problems that might legitimately arise in the execution of Party policy, and demonstrate the process whereby doubters can be won over. 126 i i ) Plot Structure The Model Operas are simple tales of the triumph of Maoist good, personnified by a central heroic figure, over ev i l represented by aggressors and traitors. They bear the two main features of melodrama (as defined by Northrop Frye): "the triumph of moral virtue over villainy, and the consequent idealism of the moral views assumed to be held by the AO audience." Here, of course, "virtue" is of a specific kind: devotion to Mao and his works, righteous anger against oppression, unshakable faith in the inevitable victory of Mao's course for the Chinese revolution and (for the civilian heroes and heroines) alertness to class struggle. The plots of the Model Works are highly predictable — i t is inconceivable that Longjiang brigade might not have a record crop yield, or that Yan Weicai and his "dagger squad" (jiandaoban) could f a i l to capture the headquarters of the White Tiger regiment. Such predictability is common in popular literature (as has been suggested in the introduction) and can be seen elsewhere in the Chinese opera tradition. For example, many of the heroic tales of The Water Margin and the operas derived from them follow a pattern of: unjust exercise of power/righteous resistance/persecution/flight to Liangshan. There are two standard plots in model opera, the military and the civilian. The military plots deal with straightforward struggle 1 2 7 against armed oppressors, varying only slightly from this standard plan: confronted by apparently insuperable forces, but with support from the people and inspiration from Mao and his works, the hero infiltrates enemy-occupied areas in disguise, then masterminds a raid in which the enemy is defeated. The civilian operas, which were the applicable model for fiction with post-1949 settings, are rather more complex, with "internal" as well as "external" contradiction, class struggle as well as combat with an obvious foe. The plot is seen as a series of contradictions, each focussing on the central character, which develop from existence (cunzai) through variation (zhuanhua) and exacerbation (jihua) to clash (chongtu) before final resolution (jie jue). A distillation of a l l the civilian plots gives a model of this kind: the central character's determination to carry out enlightened Party policy to meet an external threat (armed force or natural disaster) encounters resistance from a narrow-minded colleague and sabotage from a concealed enemy, who is a member of a non-proletarian class. The enemy cunningly fuels the colleague's doubts. Two means are used to disabuse the doubter - the recalling of past bitterness, by the hero(ine) and an older character, to arouse the w i l l to class revenge, and the quotation of a seminal Mao text. With the internal contradiction thus resolved the hero(ine) can lead a united act of valour against the external force. Finally the class enemy is unmasked and revealed to have a long history of wickedness. 128 The significance attached in c i v i l i a n operas to class struggle, a tenet central to Cultural Revolution ideology, is unmatched in Chinese literary theory. Similarly the person and writings of Mao are eulogised to a much greater extent than in any previous works. A further common feature of the operas, evident in the Chinese opera tradition and emphasised in the Model Works, is revenge (bao). A revenge theme appears in each opera, reportedly on the insistence of Jiang Qing, for whom retribution in art, as in l i f e , was of considerable importance. The finest c a l l for revenge is Granny Li's recounting to Tiemei of their family's history (a scene which reduced Jiang Qing to tears even in 197249): In the strike, your own parents perished at the devils' hands, Li Yuhe worked everywhere for revolution's plans. He vowed to keep the martyr's red lantern alight, Wiped his wounds, buried the dead and returned to the fight. Your father was dragged away to j a i l from us here, Leaving us to pay a debt of blood and tears. You must: be courageous, be determined that you will see that debt repaid by the enemy; a blood debt must be paid in blood! 50 III. Models for Life and Literature From the time the first group of eight works were declared models in 1966, and in successive media campaigns thereafter, the operas (and the other models) were presented as exemplars to be emulated in social behaviour and in the creation of art. Emulation of heroes set up by the Party has been a feature 129 of communist education in China, the prime post-1949 case being Lei Feng, the model of frugality and selfless dedication since 1963.-** Where the opera heroes and heroines differ as models is in their alertness to class struggle. One factory which became famous during the Cultural Revolution for fostering the s p i r i t of the model heroes was Shanghai's Benefit the People #4 Factory (Yimin sichang), where production targets met, longer shifts worked and emergencies resolved were a l l attributed to emulation of one or another of the opera heroes. (The factory also had three amateur operatic societies singing only arias from the Model Operas, and known as the Granny Li, Tiemei and Lei Gang troupes.) An article celebrating the factory's success in making accessible (puji) the opera model offered this report as testimony to its efficacy: There was a girl working in the biscuit-making plant who had seemed willing to make progress before being corrupted by the sugar-coated bullets of a scion of a "four bad element" [landlord/ rich-peasant/ counter-revolutionary/ bad lot] family. She was infected by evil bourgeois thought and committed errors. An experienced worker saw i t and was saddened; she tried on many occasions to discuss i t with the girl and make her recognise her faults, but to no avail. Then the older worker thought of [the scene in which] Granny L i educates Tiemei by recounting their bitter family history and thus makes Tiemei see c l e a r l y and strengthen her resolve to fight. So she told her own family history to the g i r l , remembering past bitterness and thinking of present sweetness, solemnly saying "You should be like Tiemei, red-hearted, courageous and with steely determination, don't be defeated by a sugar-coated bullet" ...[The g i r l ] determined to take Tiemei as her model (bangyang,) to be tested in the billows of class 130 struggle, and always to walk the road of revolutionary heroes. 52 This passage demonstrates that emulation of the models was extended not only into l i f e , but into reportage of l i f e ; under the influence of the models, documentary evidence was transformed into myth. The opera model was also intended to influence the creation of fiction. In the Chinese context, this was not unreasonable: there has traditionally been a symbiotic relationship between fiction, opera and the popular oral tradition (balladry, storytelling, etc.), whereby authors in one medium borrowed plot-lines and technique from the others. The great novel The  Water Margin, whose sources were the oral tradition and opera, in its turn gave rise to numerous operas, recitations, etc. Many of China's greatest novelists (Li Yu, Luo Guanzhong, Cao Xueqin) were also dramatists, and Cao had considered writing his masterpiece in opera form before composing i t as a novel. It is thus well within the Chinese tradition that fiction should borrow from opera, and as subsequent chapters w i l l show, the Model Works were highly influential in the shaping of Cultural Revolution novels. Many of the novelists writing in the first half of the 1970*s acknowledged a debt to the models, among them Hao Ran, the leading writer of the period. Two of his novels, both showing evidence of the Model Works' influence, will be considered in subsequent chapters. This is not to say that the operatic model necessarily provided a good basis for writing novels. Judgment on that question must be suspended 131 until representative novels of the period have been analysed. IV. Conclusion How successful were the Model Works in founding the unprecedented socialist literary tradition Jiang Qing had demanded in her speeches in the mid-1960's? First, the acknowledged "basic duty" of the operas was the portrayal of the central heroic figures, and the success or failure of a given work depended to a large extent on having a hero or heroine sufficiently exciting to the imagination, whom the viewer or reader would wish to emulate. After the f a l l of the Gang of Four, much criticism was directed at the "three prominences" method for creating heroes who were impossibly decisive and politically correct. A typical example follows: No matter what the 'hero's' status, age, experience, education, and position at work may be, he must be head and shoulders above others. This sort of character can do anything, has analysed everything, can predict the future, makes plans like an immortal, spouts Marxism-Leninism, astonishes people with his actions, and no matter what objective conditions are like, always succeeds straight away. 53 However, the credibility of the hero is not the prime issue; in fact the operas in which the stronger heroes appear (Taking Tiger Mountain and The Red Lantern are the obvious examples), which should be the most objectionable according to the critic quoted above, are actually the most coherent and entertaining works. At the opposite extreme, Shajiabang, in i t s revised form, suffers crucially from weakness at the centre, since the 132 "model" hero Guo Jianguang is not only implausible (which can usually be forgiven in an opera hero) but l i f e l e s s and uninteresting as well, which is unpardonable. That opera is the clearest case of the revision under Jiang Qing being to the detriment of the drama. Secondly, the range of subject-matter and expression permitted by Jiang Qing was too narrow to serve as a nation's sole literary fare for half a decade. There is l i t t l e humour and no romance in the Model Operas. The dominant emotions (pain and righteous anger, class hatred and class love, revenge and triumph) f a l l within a limited range. While there is no reason why individual operas should impose these limitations and not succeed, i t i s hardly feasible that a theatre-loving audience could be satisfied with nothing else for long. Defenders of the operas in the 1970's were especially sensitive about charges that the Model Works imposed "strictures" (kuangkuang) on the development of the arts in China. Their defense was to say that the only expression constricted was bourgeois and thus harmful to the viewer, but the vehemence of their reaction testified to their vulnerability to the charges. Thirdly, the Model Works do not f u l f i l l the role of providing a historical, political and social education that was assigned to them in the campaigns to promote them. As history, they naturally (according to Chinese tradition) support the interpretation of the past best suited to present rulers, in this case emphasising the decisive nature of Mao on the Chinese 133 revolution. Two operas stand out as particularly wayward historically. In Azalea Mountain, set in 1928, we are expected to believe that a partisan group would accept a stranger, and a woman at that, as their leader simply because she is a member of the Communist Party, even though the Party had been decimated the year before. And in The Red Detachment of Women, the women's regiment whose historical predecessor was massacred by nationalist troops is presented triumphant. To the unlikelihood of the operas in general is added, in these two works, an element of feminist fantasy for which Jiang Qing i s presumably responsible. In terms of p o l i t i c a l education, the operas perpetuated the divisive and dangerous policy of seeing social problems as caused by the activities of class enemies, thus adding credibility to witch-hunts against those who might have less than completely proletarian backgrounds. And, the testimonials of the workers as the Benefit the People #4 Factory notwithstanding, i t is hard to see the heroes of the Model Operas as a complete guide to social practice. Finally, as Frye's definition of melodrama makes clear, audience concurrence in the moral/political views expressed is essential for appreciation of the Model Works. During the Cultural Revolution, the authorities attempted to ensure acceptance of those views by requiring that everyone attend numerous showings of the films of the models, as well as by constant reiteration of those views and praise of the operas in the media. After the f a l l of the Gang of Four, 134 however, the deification of Mao and the class antagonism of the models quickly became outmoded, thus diminishing audience sympathy for their social burden. It was disenchantment with the models as propaganda weapons for policies and people (especially Jiang Qing) under attack after 1976 that accounted for the strongest attacks on the models. If the models had been designed to perpetuate, in the long term, a new vision of man and society, they clearly failed. However, in the short term, the half-decade from 1972 to 1976, the message of the model was proclaimed in officially-sponsored fiction. It is with examination of representative works of this fiction that the remainder of this study is concerned. 135 CHAPTER 4 HISTORY OF BATTLES AT HONGNAN:  THE FIRST MODEL-INFLUENCED NOVEL History of Battles at Hongnan, published in February of 1972, was the first full-length novel to be released in China in the six years since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.* As a f i r s t attempt at the Cultural Revolution novel, i t was intended to exemplify the qualities required by Jiang Qing, Yao Wenyuan and other members of the new cultural leadership. It was written by a "three-in-one" writing team of the kind pioneered by Lin Biao in the early 1960's and adopted by Jiang Qing in her Beijing Opera speech of 1964. Such was the importance attached to the venture that Yao Wenyuan was 9 himself involved in the creative process, directing the authors towards the simple and highly p o l i t i c a l style he favoured. In addition to its preparation by a "three-in-one" team, the novel also adhered to Party policy by modelling itself on the operas discussed in the previous chapter. Like them, i t offers a revised version of events in the history of modern China to the best advantage of Mao, and presents characters whose relationships are defined by the "three prominences" system. Its plot, though lacking in the climactic finale of the opera model (the novel was the first in a projected series of which no others were published), nevertheless demonstrates many of the 136 standard features of the model. These include: the recalling of past suffering to arouse the desire for revenge, the decisive introduction of a Mao text, and the resolution of contradiction in society by means of class struggle. The novel will be considered below for its creation by the "three-in-one" process, and for i t s realisation of the opera model. Conclusions on the literary merit of this novel w i l l permit generalisation both on the v i a b i l i t y of the collective writing process and the opera model. I. "Three-in-one": the Writing Team The purpose of forming writing groups rather than relying on individual authors to create fiction was to impose st r i c t Party control on literature. Lin Biao, Jiang Qing and Yao Wenyuan's suspicion of literary intellectuals was inherited from Mao's distrust of the "literary opposition" at Yan'an. They suspected that established authors, both survivors from the Republican period and those flourishing under the "black line" (of 1949-66) s t i l l harboured bourgeois or revisionist ideologies, both in their interest in the individuality, rather than the typicality, of their characters, and fe l t more answerable to themselves than their political masters. The sponsors of "three-in-one" writing groups felt (as had Mao at Yan'an) that the intended recipients of literature were insufficiently schooled and sophisticated to produce i t for themselves, and therefore the expertise of intellectuals was 137 needed. (It would seem that the Cultural Revolution leadership had l i t t l e respect for the achievements in education in the People's Republic, as they s t i l l thought in the Yan'an terms of sending authors "down" to the masses to create mass literature, and concentrated their energies, like Mao, on accessibility rather than refinement.) The new leadership sought to utilise the technical talents of these intellectuals yet deprive them of the means to express viewpoints that might conflict with Party line. The means to that end at Yan'an and in the 1950's had been to insist that authors should transform their thinking by prolonged contact with the masses and by study of Marxism before getting a freer hand to write themselves. Under Lin Biao and Jiang Qing, tougher external controls were added. The limitations placed on the role of the artist are implicit in the Cultural Revolution description of the function of the three components of the creative trinity: "leadership provides the thought, the masses provide the l i f e , the author provide the technique. The "three-in-one" system permitted surveillance of the artist from above (the Party) and below (the masses); in practice i t was the Party that exercised the decisive role, especially over the slight production of the early 1970's. Jiang Qing indicated to Roxanne Witke that she reserved the right to ignore the opinions of the masses i f they did not suit her purposes, in a process she called "democratic centralism on a broad scale."4 The "History of Battles at Hongnan composition group" had 138 five members based in Shanghai county, a densely populated farming area to the west of the city of Shanghai. There was a Party representative, answerable to Yao Wenyuan and Zhang Chunqiao in Beijing, and responsible for the ideological rectitude of the work. The second member was a literary professional, an editor named Zhou Tian. (Other such groups had experienced writers in this slot.-*) The other three were young residents of Shanghai county, where the novel was set. The three were not native to the area, but had been sent there from metropolitan Shanghai after high-school graduation as part of the Cultural Revolution rustication of urban youth. Nor had they volunteered for membership in the writing group: they had been selected on the basis of reports written for local journals. The theme of the novel was supplied by Yao Wenyuan through the Party representative on the writing team: two-line struggle between Maoist and revisionist (i.e., Liu Shaoqi-inspired) policies on the collectivisation of suburban agricultural land in Hongnan village in Shanghai county in the early 1950's. The choice of Hongnan county was to celebrate an editorial comment written by Mao commending the achievements of collectivisation there;0 the Chairman could thus be kept as close as possible to the action. After discussion between the Party representative and the literary professional, a plot outline was prepared in four sections, one each to be written by the professional and the three young writers. Released from other duties, the four writers conducted research into the history of 139 collectivisation in the area by interviewing area residents, and then wrote their respective sections. These were rewritten by Zhou Tian, who added a prologue and an epilogue. The writing process was completed in a year and a half,^ no mean feat for a novel of six hundred pages. The "three-in-one" system in operation for the writing of History of Battles at Hongnan was slightly different from the one which had produced Lin Biao's literary exemplar, The Song of Q Ouyang Hai six years before. The earlier novel had likewise required its author to produce a figment of the Party's imagination rather than his own, and had involved extensive field research among the comrades of the eponymous martyr. However the literary professional, Jin Jingmai, had written the work alone — the "masses" furnished the raw material for the novel and suggested revisions, but did not provide young hack writers whose work could be rewritten by a more experienced colleague. Though Jin Jingmai had more control over the form of his novel, the guiding principle was the same: the decisive input was the Party's, the writer(s) merely serving to present the message in palatable form. The ideological differences between the two works cannot be ascribed to their authors, but to the Party line on history and social relationships prevailing when the novels were composed. Chief among these differences was the analysis presented in the two novels of the chief contradicions existing in Chinese society. In The Song of Ouyang Hai, the struggle is exemplified 1 4 0 within the hero himself, between self-fulfillment and altruism, with Ouyang Hai learning to efface the self and to dedicate himself to his fellow-soldiers and society. In History of  Battles at Hongnan, this same contradiction is externalised, becoming a class struggle between proletarians possessed of self-denial like Ouyang Hai's and representatives of non-proletarian classes (middle-peasants, landlords, bourgeois intellectuals, etc.) who for various selfish or malevolent reasons oppose the policies set forward by Mao. The de-emphasis of class in the earlier novel and its re-emphasis in the second follows a change in the Party's policy. II. Historical Background: Agricultural Collectivisation "What is the purpose of going over historical events once more?" asks the narrator rhetorically towards the end of the novel's prologue. The answer: "the purpose is to explain history, to explain historical experience."9 As its t i t l e makes plain, the subject of History of Battles  at Hongnan is history; like the Model Operas, i t provides a revised version of a critical phase in China's recent past. The collectivisation of agriculture, a process which began shortly after the communist victory, was chosen for historical review in the first Cultural Revolution novel for three major reasons: i t had been of immense organisational and ideological importance in the building of the new society of the People's Republic; i t had been the first sign after the communist victory of a conflict between two opposing developmental strategies; and i t had already provided the setting for popular novels presenting a view of history of which the Cultural Revolution leadership disapproved. The Communist Party's promise of land to the t i l l e r was the single most important factor in radicalizing the peasantry, without whom there could have been no communist victory. The land reform, which began as the communists took over new rural areas during the c i v i l war and was completed after 1949, was the means whereby the Chinese peasants were persuaded to assert themselves over their landlords and take possession of the land in an economic and ideological transformation known as fanshen (usually translated as "emancipation"). William Hinton, in his account of the land reform in a Northern Chinese village, attests that "through this process they [the peasants] had transformed themselves from passive victims of natural and social forces into active builders of a new world. This was the essence of fanshen."10 Under the land reform, land, agricultural equipment and household possessions confiscated from landlords and wealthy peasants were redistributed among the hired hands and poorer peasants, allowing them to farm in family units. It soon became clear, especially in the poorer areas, that the same families who had been destitute before land reform were least able to cope with individual farming, lacking equipment, manpower, and the c a p i t a l to buy seeds and f e r t i l i s e r , while the relatively prosperous middle-peasants 142 were able to take the fullest advantage of land reform. Agricultural collectivisation was seen as the means to prevent rural society from degenerating once more into one divided between rich and poor, exploiter and exploited. There were, however, disagreements within the leadership as to the manner and the pace of collectivisation. Briefly stated, one side held that the creation of wealth was the prerequisite for collectivisation, and thus that the move toward collectivisation should wait until the more successful individual farmers had amassed some capital i n a period of social stability; for the other side, collectivisation was the prerequisite for the creation of wealth by the poorer peasants, who had been the communists' natural constituency before 1949, and who were in danger of being bankrupted and reverting to tenancy or servitude. For this latter side, a swift move towards collectivisation was essential, and should be achieved through mass mobilisation. 1 9 Thus, within months of the communist victory, "two lines" on developmental strategy were evident within the Communist Party leadership, in a conflict that has continued with varying intensity until the present day. The f i r s t , centralist, organised and pragmatic, and associated with Liu Shaoqi, has been described as "the Soviet Model;" the second, populist, inspirational and Utopian, has been identified with Mao as the "Yan'an Way." Mao was the one responsible for forcing the pace of collectivisation i n the 143 1950's, from the early cooperatives, through the higher-level collectives to the people's communes in the Great Leap Forward; while Liu and his followers are seen as having opposed the precipitancy of Mao's initiatives and, after Mao's death, moved towards the decollectivisation of agriculture. The breach between these two conflicting strategies became public with the attacks on Liu Shaoqi in the mid-1960's, and the Party media, which had previously been careful to minimise differences and present the image of a united leadership, was suddenly required to revise the historical record to show a counter-revolutionary Liu Shaoqi repeatedly attempting to undermine Mao's brilliant and popular policies. Since novels produced prior to the Cultural Revolution had, in line with other Party writing, portrayed solidarity rather than "line struggle" within the Party on the issue of collectivisation, now new fiction was now required to f i l l the gap. Agricultural collectivisation had been the subject of a number of novels written in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Among them were Zhao Shuli's Sanliwan,14 Zhou Libo's Great  Changes in a_ Mountain Village (Shanxiang jubian),1^ and Liu Qing's History of Setting Up (Chuangye shi, translated as The  Builders).1^ (These three novels are among those analysed in Joe C. Huang's study of the pre-Cultural Revolution novel.^) Collectivisation novels, though set in a particular area, have nevertheless used a single village as a microcosm for the whole Chinese countryside, showing the means whereby typical objections to collectivisation are overcome and Party policies can win popular support. In Sanliwan (1958), opposition to the collectivisation of recently allocated plots is shown as a natural conservatism, which can be broken down by explaining the superiority of the collective way, and by providing a vision of a better, socialist, future. Great Changes in a Mountain  Village (1958) deals at length with middle peasant opposition to, and obstruction of, collectivisation; the author candidly admits the policy's unpopularity with those able to make a success of individual farming. To Zhou Libo, such opposition is understandable, but deluded, though their conversion to socialist thinking, at least as he describes i t , is less convincing than their resistance to i t . It is in History of  Setting Up (1959) that the c o n f l i c t between s o c i a l i s t c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n and conservative individualism i s most intimately portrayed, with the focus within a single family, on a father and his adopted son. The father, Gaffer Liang the Third, is overjoyed at being assigned land in the land reform, and believes that the prosperity that has always eluded his family is fi n a l l y within reach. His son Liang Shengbao, as a Party member, is more concerned with their less capable neighbors than with building family fortunes. Though he could certainly prosper as a private farmer, Shengbao chooses the path of collectivisation instead, arousing his father first to frustrated rage, then to grudging tolerance and finally to loving acceptance. 145 The conflict between the forces advocating and opposing collectivisation in the three novels mentioned above is essentially perceived as one of progressive thinking against peasant conservatism; the authors take the side of progress towards socialism, but are sympathetic to the other viewpoint. It is not an analysis based on class struggle, which is seen as having been left behind when the landlords and rich peasants were denounced and stripped of their land in the land reform. Rather the contradictions are non-antagonistic, "among the people" (renmin neibu), even within a single family or individual. The Cultural Revolution perspective is a different one, presenting the same opposition to collectivisation not as understandable conservatism or delusion, but as stupidity or wickedness. The conflict has been externalised, with heroes and villains personifying good and evil. There are class enemies at work in History of Battles at Hongnan, and within the Party there is a struggle between the policies of Mao and Liu. The Cultural Revolution c o l l e c t i v i s t cadre, here Hong Leisheng, unlike his predecessor Liang Shengbao, is more concerned with prosecuting class struggle than explaining the merits of collectivisation. The key to the difference between the two heroes, and the two "histories" in which they appear, is the adherence of the later work to the opera model. 1 4 6 III. Application of the Opera Model i) Characterisation The novel's characters, like those of the Model Operas, f i t into a "three prominences" system. The action revolves around the central hero Hong Leisheng, who is supported by secondary heroes, and leads the "masses", who are generally approving but prone to doubt and backsliding. Opposing forces include those inside and outside the Communist Party. Naturally, there are more characters in a long novel than in operas a tenth of i t s length; the categories whose numbers are increased are the masses and the negative characters. a. A_ New Hero of Collectivisation Hong Leisheng, scion of an impoverished hired hand family and the leader of the poor peasants of Hongnan, is the organiser of the first collective farming enterprise in the novel and the defender of Mao's line against the various assaults of the opposition. In a prologue set before 1949, he appears as an underground activist for the Party and a Red Army soldier who is demobilised to his home village; by the start of the novel proper he i s head of the local branch of the Communist Youth League. One difference between Leisheng and his opera counterparts is in his youthfulness. Intuitively correct though his judgments may be, he lacks experience, and we are constantly reminded by 147 the narrator of the limitations of his knowledge. Dependence is not so much on his fellow villagers as on Mao: at every step he i s guided by quotations from Mao (which appear at considerable length and in heavy type). At moments of crisis, directives come deus ex machina, which Leisheng need only follow to be assured of victory. Leisheng believes totally in Mao's omniscience: "Chairman Mao is truly brilliant! Chairman Mao is in Beijing, how is i t that Chairman Mao knows everything here, just as i f he had seen i t with his own shares with the boy soldier heroes of the 1960's be no more than an instrument of the Chairman's will, a passivity that makes him a weaker figure than, say, Jiang Shuiying of Ode to Dragon River; but he shares her suspicion of class enemies, and triumphs in his conflicts with them. Leisheng's willing subservience is expressed as he listens to the reading of the text by Mao praising the progress of collectivisation at Hongnan: Leisheng raised his head to gaze at the portrait of Chairman Mao in the centre of the podium at the meeting hall, and the great leader was smiling at him. A hot surge rose in Leisheng's heart as he silently repeated his vow to Chairman Mao: "Chairman Mao, Chairman Mao, I, Hong Leisheng, son of a hired hand, w i l l always obey you, and hurry towards socialism and communism. No force however strong can destroy my f a i t h and resolution to go forward." 19 Within the terms of the novel, this utter reliance is enough to bring Leisheng victory at every turn. But the narrator is at that happens eyes." 1 8 Leisheng the desire to 148 pains to point out, in a lengthy disquisition on the nature of the literary hero, that Leisheng i s no genius, in the manner of Zhuge Liang of Three Kingdoms, who can forsee the future and uses people as pawns in a game of chess. Rather, the narrator insists (though there is l i t t l e evidence in the text to support the assertion), Leisheng's strength is derived from his reliance on the masses. There is genius at work in the novel, though i t i s not, to be sure, the hero who possesses i t ; rather i t is Leisheng himself who is the pawn in the mighty hand of the Chairman, moving forward step by step as Mao directs. Hong Leisheng is a supremely "social" hero, lacking in any individual characteristics. If, as one of the authors said, his character was based on a real-life village cadre, then the portrait has been "typified" out of a l l recognition, to the point where individuality i s extinguished. This makes him a paler figure than Liang Shengbao of History of Setting Up, even despite the "three prominences." Though Shengbao, like Leisheng, is primarily concerned with carrying out Party collectivisation policies, he also has a softer side, seen both in his relations with his step-father and mother, and in a failed romance with a strong-willed girl whom he exasperates and alienates with his constant postponement of courtship. Leisheng, by comparison, has neither the time not the inclination to do anything but struggle and organise. 1 4 9 b. Secondary Heroes Support from secondary heroes in the higher echelons (such as was enjoyed by the opera heroes Yang Zirong and Yan Weicai from their commanding officers) is a l l the more important in the case of a hero as youthful as Hong Leisheng, especially when he has the temerity to challenge the Liuist policies of the local Party authorities. Here i t is the Party o f f i c a l An Kerning, Leisheng's mentor in the prologue and throughout the novel, who supplies him periodically with the works of Mao and lectures him on the importance of vigilance for class struggle (though he is constrained by Party solidarity from explaining the r i f t within the Party until the youngster has himself joined). Another supporter directly drawn from an opera stereotype is Leisheng's mother. Mama Hong is a woman of the same type as the militant grannies of the Model Works, though she is spared the violence inflicted on them. Like them, she is loving and solicitous towards the hero, and arouses his determination with a s t i r r i n g r e c i t a t i o n of past oppression and resistance. Her virtues include frugality (she lights her house at night only to entertain guests or to allow her son to study Mao's writings), and patriotism, sewing to help the war effort in Korea. Dynamic young activists — Alian of Ode to Dragon River is an example in the Model Operas — are common secondary heroines in Cultural Revolution fiction. Here we have Zhang Baozhen, 150 whose militance is revealed to best effect when Liu Shaoqi supporters decide to establish a collective in deference to Mao's orders, but admit only middle peasants with a view to ensuring economic success. Baozhen, in Leisheng's absence, leads the poor peasant protest. c. The Masses The masses in the novel comprise those peasants who are not leading advocates of either the Maoist or Liuist lines. There are both poor and middle peasants, the former sufferers and the latter doubters, and each behaves according to his ordained class characteristics. The class analysis that defines their characterisation is Mao's 1926 essay "Analysis of Classes in Chinese Society" (Zhongguo shehui ge ji e j i  fenxi), which the narrator updates to 1949 in the f i r s t chapter of the novel proper. Mao's essay posits that, the poorer the peasant, the more inclined he is to the cause of the Communist Party; in the updated version, this means not joining the revolution, but collectivising. Hardship and indecision may s t a l l the poor peasant from making the decision to support collectivisation, but he i s destined to do so. By contrast, the middle peasants seek only their own economic gain, and though this may take them into the collective, they remain a disruptive force there. The authors are constrained by the Party's land reform policy of alliance with the middle peasants from portraying them as v i l l a i n s , but the contempt in which the narrator and the poor peasants of the novel hold them leaves l i t t l e doubt of their distaste for the alliance policy. Mao's belief in man's potential for transformation has been a l l but abandoned; as the narrator says of the people of Hongnan at the novel's end: "their thinking in each case bears the mark of their class and status, 99 with no exceptions. Typical of the poor peasant sufferers is Xu Tugen, whose family shared with the Hongs the doubtful distinction of being the worst off in the village before the land reform. Even afterwards financial difficulties, including his wife's sickness, mean that Xu is unable to manage on his own. He seems doomed to sell his land and hire himself out i f noone helps him. Hong Leisheng's willingness to admit Xu into his cooperative and provide other support are designed to show the hero's close affiliation with the most disadvantaged members of society. By contrast, Niu Husheng represents the middle peasants. Niu joins the cooperative early on, and thereby earns more than his brother, who stays out. But his commitment to collectivisation is strictly limited. He bickers about the cash value of his investment when joining and tries to force the cooperative to sell its produce on the private market rather than to the state (which is seen as dishonourable money-grubbing by the narrator). Niu's grasping nature is clearly incorrigible, as i t stems naturally from his class. The narrator concludes of an argument between Leisheng and Niu Husheng: " a l l men have 152 feelings, but people of different classes have different feelings." 2 3 Such rigid class analysis deprives the novel of any potential for character development. The authors also shun the only device available from the Model Operas that permits any degree of ambiguity or flexiblity, the "turnabout character." There are none in this novel. d. Enemies Within and Without The Model Operas invariably conclude with the unmasking and humiliation of the hero's enemies. In History of Battles  at Hongnan, some of the conflicts are left unresolved, saved for further volumes that were to continue the story. This is clearest in the case of Leisheng's two adversaries within the Party, the county Party secretary Pu Chunhua and the middle peasant cadre Gao Quwen, both of whom represent the Liu Shaoqi line on agricultural development. Pu Chunhua is one of a new kind of v i l l a i n , distinct from those in the operas, brought into Cultural Revolution literature to personify the Liuist road — the senior Party official opposed to the hero and the Chairman. In later manifestations, this type becomes the "capitalist-roader" villain. His class background is (from the author's point of view) highly suspect. His family are urban, prosperous and intellectual. Being urban, he has no knowledge of the countryside; being prosperous, he cannot t e l l rich from poor in the villages where living standards 153 are generally low; and as an intellectual he is (in the new conventions of the Cultural Revolution) myopic, gullible and arrogant. As the Party official responsible for Hongnan (where he outranks An Kerning) he is keen for good production results to show to his superiors, and invariably supports ventures involving middle peasants, seeing them as more capable of delivering the desired results. When Leisheng and other poor peasants object to Pu's forming Hongnan's f i r s t o f f i c i a l cooperative with only middle peasants, he counters by insisting on Party solidarity. He regards Leisheng as a "meddlesome brat" (maoshou maojiao de xiao haizi) and resents his interference in the carrying out of Party (or Liuist) policies. Judgment is suspended in this volume as to whether he is merely deluded or a "right opportunist;" we may assume that had the saga ground its way to the anti-rightist campaign, Pu would have had his come-uppance. Pu's ally at the local level is Hongnan's first Party member, the wealthy middle peasant Gao Quwen. The selfishness that the authors regard as innate to his class ( c f . Chang Fu of Ode to Dragon River) runs counter to the altruism expected of a peasant cadre. Thus when he assigns tasks to members of his cooperative, he insists that his own land be worked f i r s t (whereas model cadres like Leisheng or Jiang Shuiying would have their land t i l l e d last). This, explains the narrator, derives from "the exploiter mentality of the wealthy 9 S middle peasant." Because Gao is a Party member rather than 154 an o r d i n a r y m i d d l e peasant, h i s c o n f l i c t w i t h L e i s h e n g i s b o t h l i n e s t r u g g l e and in n e r - P a r t y c o n f l i c t . J u s t as Mao, ra t h e r than Leisheng, i s the r e a l hero of the novel , so i s L i u Shaoqi the r e a l v i l l a i n . The b a t t l e s are fought by s u r r o g a t e s , but the n a r r a t o r c o n s t a n t l y r e m i n d s us t h a t Liu's hand i s a t work behind the scenes. I t i s L i u Shaoqi who i s a c c u s e d o f a t t e m p t i n g t o a r r e s t L eisheng's p o l i t i c a l and c o g n i t i v e development by s u p p r e s s i n g p u b l i c a t i o n o f volume three of Mao's Selected Works; and when Gao Quwen's mercenary t e n d e n c i e s b r i n g him i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h Hong L e i s h e n g : "Pu Chunhua comforted Gao Quwen w i t h the theory of the d i s s o l u t i o n of p u b l i c and p r i v a t e ( g o n g - s i ronghua l u n ) of the g r e a t t r a i t o r L i u Shaoqi." At t h e s e e a r l y s t a g e s o f the l a n d reform, Liu's supposedly treacherous r o l e i s concealed from the i n h a b i t a n t s of Hongnan, though the a c t i o n s of h i s agents a r o u s e s u s p i c i o n among t he pe a s a n t s . When Mama Hong i s confused by the half-heartedness of Pu Chunhua (whom she reveres as a P a r t y o f f i c i a l ) t o w a r d s her son's M a o i s t v i e w s , t h e na r r a t o r excuses her p e r p l e x i t y thus: Of course Mama Hong can't be expected to know as y e t t h a t t h e r e i s a c o u n t e r - r e v o l u t i o n a r y r e v i s i o n i s t l i n e i n the P a r t y r e p r e s e n t e d by t h e t r a i t o r L i u Shaoqi, and tha t there are a m i n o r i t y of P a r t y members r e c e p t i v e t o r e v i s i o n i s m by re a s o n o f a c l a s s s t a n d p o i n t and w o r l d v i e w a r i s i n g from t h e i r c l a s s s t a t u s and experience ... 27 Outside the Communist Pa r t y , the other, and l e s s s i g n i f i c a n t , v i l l a i n s of the piece are the r i c h peasant L a i 1 5 5 Fucai, who tries to profit from Xu Tugen's bankruptcy by buying his land, and then spreads rumours with a view to discrediting the collective; and Jiang Yexian, trouble-making niece of a deceased landlord. Such villains outside the Party are obligatory but very weak, having l i t t l e power, few brains and no popular support. i i ) Plot The purpose of the plots of the Model Operas, as Qian Haoliang's remarks on Li Yuhe and The Red Lantern quoted in the last chapter illustrate, is largely to demonstrate the character of the hero. Since History of Battles at Hongnan is more about history than character, i t i s to be expected that plot plays a greater role in the novel. The story i s of collectivisation as the unfolding of the theories of Mao. Since Mao and Liu are the effective hero and v i l l a i n , the conflicts in the novel are the embodiment of the "line struggles" of the early 1950's, with Hong Leisheng and his rivals enacting that struggle at village level. The lifelessness of the characters arises in part from their surrogate nature, in part from their creation by four different pens, none daring to imbue characteristics that might be contradicted elsewhere. The disparity of authorial input between the four sections of the novel i s clearer in the case of the plot, which is riddled with inconsistencies. Two examples: Pu Chunhua is seen in section I frustrating Leisheng's attempts to join the Communist 156 Party, yet in section III Leisheng is suddenly a Party member, without any of the fanfare a hero's admission to the Party might be expected to involve. Also, in the novel's final section, a younger sister to the hero emerges, unmentioned in the preceding 498 pages. Like the operas, History of Battles at Hongnan traces a series of contradictions involving the hero, rising to a climax of sorts at story's end. The action begins in 1951 with the establishment of two cooperatives, each representing one side of the policy conflict that dominates the novel. The first consists of Hong Leisheng and seven poor peasant girls including Zhang Baozhen. The second, set up to ri v a l i t , is grouped around the middle peasant and Party member Gao Quwen. Gao's middle-peasant cooperative has the approval of Pu Chunhua, the county Party secretary, while Hong's is set up on the advice of An Kerning, Pu's deputy. Gao refuses to admit Xu Tugen to his group because of Xu's poverty, but Leisheng accepts him. The lines are drawn between the Maoist poor-peasant collectivisation of Leisheng and An Kerning on the one hand and the reliance on more prosperous farmers associated with Liu Shaoqi and here represented by Pu Chunhua and Gao Quwen. To help them survive their f i r s t winter, Leisheng and his friends earn money by dismantling landlord graves located on their newly acquired land and selling the bricks. This i s achieved despite a show of grief put on by Jiang Yexian, the 157 daughter of a former local tyrant whose grave the peasants dismantle. A group of rich peasants form a third cooperative to take advantage of government aid, but Zhang Baozhen and Xu Tugen refuse to give up any of a shipment of effluent (for f e r t i l i s i n g the land) from Shanghai. Meanwhile a l l i s not well in Gao Quwen's cooperative, as the middle-peasant selfishness of i t s members (including i t s leader) interferes constantly with cooperation. The problems accompanying these f i r s t cooperative ventures cause Leisheng to r e a l i s e , simultaneously with Mao and as a result of studying the text of "Get Organised" (Zuzhi q i l a i ) z o that a more advanced stage of collectivisation is necessary. A larger collective unit is duly established in the second part of the novel. The organisation of the collective i s the responsibility of Pu Chunhua, and he selects Gao Quwen, rather than Leisheng, to lead i t . So keen is Pu that the collective should be an economic success and reflect credit on himself that he is reluctant to allow the poor peasants to join at a l l ; in Leisheng's absence i t is Zhang Baozhen who leads the poor peasants in demanding, and gaining, admission. The problems of collectivising the middle-peasants are personified by Niu Husheng, who tries (among other tricks) to f a l s i f y the value of the goods he puts in to the collective to maximise his investment-related dividend when harvest comes. On An Keming's advice, Leisheng resigns himself to the unpalatable policy of uniting with the middle 158 peasants. As collective head, Gao Quwen discriminates against the poor peasants, assigning them work which will give them a lower share than middle peasants of future income. The reason he gives for this is that middle peasants are more capable than poor ones; Leisheng disproves this by outworking Niu Husheng. Two disputes arise between Leisheng and the middle peasants: first Leisheng insists on selling a l l produce to the state — the correct path by Cultural Revolution standards — rather than on the lucrative private market; then he suggests building an irrigation system to combat drought, but the middle peasants will not commit themselves to capital projects and do not want trenches dug on their own land. Despite these disputes, which are designed to show the intermediate level of cooperation as unsatisfactory, the second section ends on a high note, with a good harvest attesting to the efficacy of collectivisation. The ideological conflict between Hong Leisheng and Pu Chunhua continues in the third part of the novel. First Pu attempts to prevent a neighbouring village from forming a collective because they have no Party member. Then Zhang Baozhen and Xu Tugen clash with Niu Husheng over Niu's attempts to market collective produce through middlemen. Pu resents the constant interference of Leisheng and his poor peasant friends in what he sees as administrative matters, but Leisheng's intuitive judgments find support in an extensive exegesis of Mao's works by An Kerning. The section ends with a plan underway 1 5 9 to set up a higher-level collective with no dividends on investment, in response to Mao's "On the Cooperative Transformation of Agriculture" (Guanyu nongye hezuohua  wenti). 2 9 Hong Leisheng, now a Party member, becomes secretary of the newly formed Hongnan Party branch. Thus a small triumph concludes section III, with the completion of a further step in the path dictated by Mao, though Pu Chunhua i s s t i l l in control and s t i l l opposed to Leisheng. The fourth and final section begins with Leisheng's struggle for swift collectivisation vindicated when an article praising the setting-up of cooperative farming programmes at Hongnan wins the praise of Mao. At this point in the novel, historical fact is incorporated into historical fiction: the article, with Mao's editorial comment, appears in the 1955 compilation Socialist  Upsurge in China's Countryside (Zhongguo nongcun de shehuizhuyi  gaochao). The article condemns as "conservative, timid and bureaucratic" those o f f i c i a l s who (like the novel's Pu Chunhua), have suppressed the peasants' laudable desire for collectivisation. It is the public reading of this a r t i c l e that raises Leisheng to the rapturous self-dedication quoted above. Pu Chunhua i s unbowed by the criticism and gives Leisheng's new collective a derisively low official rating. At this crucial moment, the authors bring in the opera device of "recalling past biterness." Here the speaker i s Mama Hong, who, at the request of Zhang Baozhen, recounts a saga of grinding poverty and oppression before 1949. 160 Her t a l k i s a v i l l a g e e q u i v a l e n t of Granny L i ' s r e c o l l e c t i o n s i n The Red L a n t e r n , and has the same e f f e c t — t e a r s , and then slogans i n c l u d i n g c a l l s f o r revenge on past e x p l o i t e r s : "Don't f o r g e t c l a s s oppression, bear i n mind enmity forged i n blood and t e a r s ! " 3 1 Leisheng and h i s f o l l o w e r s are thus prepared f o r a f i n a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h t h e i r enemies o u t s i d e the Party. I t comes as a d v e r s e weather c o n d i t i o n s lead the wealthy peasants, a t the i n s t i g a t i o n o f L a i F u c a i , t o p l e a d p o v e r t y and c l a i m r e l i e f funds i n an attempt to bankrupt the c o l l e c t i v e . The poor peasants outface them by l i n i n g up at the c o l l e c t i v e ' s o f f i c e to i n v e s t t h e i r s a v i n g s as the r i c h p e a s a n t s l i n e up t o make withdrawals. Shamed, the r i c h peasants withdraw. J i a n g Yexian i s caught t r y i n g t o sabotage the i r r i g a t i o n s y s t e m , t h e e v i l i n t e n t i o n s of L a i Fucai are exposed, and there i s triumph among the poor peasants. The triumph i s by no means as d e c i s i v e as those which c l i m a x the Model Operas. The c o n f l i c t w i t h i n the Party a w a i t s f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n , though i t i s c l e a r t h a t Leisheng has Mao and the masses on h i s s i d e , so the reader i s to assume h i s triumph i n f u t u r e c o n f l i c t s . W i t h the c o n f l i c t between the p r i n c i p a l a n t a g o n i s t s shelved, the f i n a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the token and i l l - d e f i n e d enemies o u t s i d e the P a r t y i s an a n t i - c l i m a x a t a p o i n t where a g r a n d f i n a l e was s o r e l y n e e d e d . The u n f u l f i l l e d promise of a second volume can s c a r c e l y have e x c i t e d i t s readers, even a f t e r a s i x - y e a r dearth of novels. 1 6 1 IV. Non-operatic Elements Even for such rigorously orthodox writers as the History of  Battles at Hongnan writing team, the opera novel could not resolve a l l the formal aspects of writing prose narrative. To this end, the authors borrowed from the "national forms" tradition that had already shaped the communist novel, and from the rhetorical style of the political discourse of the Cultural Revolution. In the preface (yinzi) and in the role of the narrator are seen the elements which relate least to the opera model. The operas do not have prologues; they start In medias res, with historical context being supplied by the recalling of past bitterness. Earlier in the Chinese operatic tradition, however, a xiezi or "wedge" began a drama (for example the za.ju of the Yuan dynasty) introducing the main characters and their situations. In some of the classic Chinese novels, prefatory chapters function as a mystical genesis, or creation myth: a hundred and eight malign spirits released by an incautious imperial envoy become the heroes of The Water Margin, and a magic stone rejected when the goddess Nugua repaired the heavens is identified with both narrator and central figure in The Dream of  the Red Chamber. In the communist novel, the preface is often retained , but shorn of its mystical aspect, as a cognitive genesis, whereby the ideological growth of the hero prior to the start of the novel proper i s explained. In Liu Qing's collectivisation novel History of Setting Up, as well as in 1 6 2 History of Battles at Hongnan (and also Hao Ran's The Golden  Road, the subject of the next chapter), incidents from the hero's l i f e before 1949 are recounted to introduce a novel otherwise set in the years following the communist victory. In Liu Qing's novel, Liang Shengbao f i r s t appears as a timid refugee child; through his own industry and ingenuity, he makes a success of cultivating land rented by his stepfather, only to be ruined by usury, taxes and the cost of buying himself out of the nationalist army. His bitter experience provides the rationale for his conversion to communism. From the ti t l e of the preface to History of Battles at  Hongnan, "A Fledgling Eagle" (Chuying), i t is plain that the young Leisheng is already of heroic stuff. Though immature, Leisheng is s t i l l a brave young revolutionary as he guides An Kerning through enemy lines near his home. Leisheng's learning i s not empirical but metaphysical, with his introduction to the picture of Mao. The scene in which this occurs sets the tone for the entire novel: [An Kerning] unbuttened his jacket and drew out from his breast a bundle of mimeographed pages, which he reverently opened. The glorious image of the great leader Chairman Mao shone forth before the eyes of young Leisheng. No need for An Kerning to explain [who i t was], young Leisheng realised straight away. Both of them exclaimed with spontaneous unity: "Chairman Mao." Oh Chairman Mao, Chairman Mao, how blessed now i s Hong Leisheng, son of a hired hand! How many heartfelt words young Leisheng, thirsting for fanshen and longing for liberation, has to say to you! Oh Chairman Mao, how many l i t t l e 163 Leishengs there are who want to grow up l i t by your sun and nourished by your dew. 32 Such rhetorical excess is unusual even by the standards of the Model Operas; i t establishes the mere image of Mao as the force that inspires the young Leisheng to go off and join the Red Army, at a time when the boy had never seen or heard the words of Mao (a void that An Kerning f i l l s ) . The passage quoted above is typical of the novel as a whole in that i t is the narrator, rather than any of the characters, who provides the bulk of the adulatory rhetoric. The homiletic narrator is a feature of the Chinese literary tradition, his function being both to t e l l the story and draw moral lessons from i t within the simulated context of a storyteller working a street-corner audience. As story-teller, the narrator of History of Battles at Hongnan relies on tried and tested techniques. In the opening pages of the preface, as the figures of Leisheng and An Kerning emerge from the shadows to penetrate enemy lines, the reader is drawn in to the action: Hey! Two people are coming, creeping out of the wheatfield over there to the east of the river! ... Who are they? What can they be doing, braving the wind, tramping through the mud, risking their lives by approaching the [enemy] cordon at dead of night? 33 Later in the same passage, cliches familiar to readers of traditional fiction set us in the thick of things: "all you see i s " (zhi jian), "from the look of i t " (kanlai), "in the twinkling of an eye" (zhuanyan zhi jian), " i t takes a time to t e l l 1 6 4 but i t happened in a flash" (shuo shi chi, nei shi kuai). When the p o l i t i c a l rhetoric begins, however, the fast-paced narrative ends, and i t is seldom recovered in the novel proper. Others of the traditional cliches do occur occasionally, the sporadic nature of their use probably being due to the unfamiliarity of the younger members of the team with the techniques of fiction writing. The narrator's didactic function far outweighs his role as entertainer; the simulated context that dominates the novel is less that of the street corner than of the classroom. The narrator's role is that of the political instructor (zhengzhi  laoshi) of Chinese high-schools and universities, both pedagogue and watchdog. His perspective is the official view of history, society and human nature at the time of writing, and he constantly reminds his readers that twenty years have elapsed, and the Cultural Revolution has begun, since the days in which the novel is set. Like the political instructor, he assumes community of belief with his audience, but not of knowledge. Since the younger members of his audience would have no memory (and the older ones perhaps a different memory) of the events described, his mandate is to inform them of the new normative history of collectivisation in terms of class and line struggles. To this end, historical context is customarily established before the action of a chapter is allowed to begin. For example: the second chapter begins with a lecture interpreting the early problems of collectivisation according 165 to Mao's writings. It is explained that the earliest manifestation of line struggle in the Party after 1949 was between Mao's pursuit of socialist goals and others within the Party attempting to arrest the progress towards socialism by clinging to the now outdated "new democracy" of the liberated areas. The lecture concludes: This, then, is the historical background to certain events that take place at the time of the chapter. Hongnan village is no isolated island ... the two-line struggle within the Party i s even now unfolding in ways that accord with the local conditions! 34 Even with the background so thoroughly explained, the narrator does not trust the reader to infer the desired conclusion from the words and actions of the novel's protagonists, but intrudes to explain how class background and political line shape men's personalities. As Gao Quwen sets members of his cooperative to work on his own land first, this outburst ensues: Ai! Gao Quwen cannot avoid the spontaneous capitalist thinking that binds the wealthy middle peasants; he s t i l l hasn't understood that the key to the problem i s not a l i t t l e bit of money, but what Leisheng described as "the exploiter mentality of the middle peasant." If he really had resolved this problem in his thinking, why would he send the cooperative members to work on his own land first? 35 Most of the narrator's energies are thus devoted to instructing the reader on history, class struggle and human nature. Periodically he also offers admonition and consolation to the characters in the novel. Leisheng, shocked at Pu Chunhua's derogatory assessment of Hongnan's new collective, 166 is offered words of comfort: Youthful leader of Hongnan collective! Young Party member Hong Leisheng, f u l l y dedicated to the cause of collectivisation! In your heart you blame yourself for lack of foresight; but we know you couldn't have anticipated this. You are not yet a mature commander who has fought a hundred battles and is rich in fighting experience, you're just a young leader determined to carry out collectivisation for the masses and propelled by them into the po l i t i c a l arena. Though you may feel yourself responsible, how could you really be expected to anticipate every possible variation of class and line struggle? 36 At moments of triumph, the narrator addresses Mao in terms of reverential awe, praising him for his wise policies and assuring him of the devotion of the hero and the audience. (One example of this has been quoted above.) The narrator's purpose is to control completely the reader's perception of the events described. The effect is rather to alienate the reader from his opinions; the narratorial voice is pedantic, dogmatic, hectoring and dull, lacking any glimmer of humour or ironic detachment to sweeten the didactic p i l l . It is fiction writing in the style of the p o l i t i c a l rhetoric of Yao Wenyuan. V. Conclusion History of Battles at Hongnan i s fiction as the Cultural Revolution leadership would have i t written: composed by inexperienced writers under close Party supervision in a "three-in-one" composition team, following the opera model and i t s "three prominences" characterisation. The taboos cited by Jiang 167 Qing in her 1966 "Summary" are scrupulously avoided. It i s a highly polemical novel in which the demands of the "self" are completely subjugated to those of "society." It i s also inept, pedantic and dull, proof enough that a system and a formula do not necessarily create a good novel. The "three-in-one" method used in the writing of The Song of Ouyang Hai has been shown by Joe C. Huang to have been a stultifying process aimed ostensibly at verifying facts but in practice better suited to preventing the expression by Jin Jingmai (the man who put pen to paper) of anything but the •57 preordained line. This is a l l the more true in the case of History of Battles at Hongnan, where the writers were supplied with plot summaries of the sections of novel they were supposed to create. The inexperience of the writers (three of whom had never written anything longer than a news report) ensured that no liberties of individual expression could be taken with the guidelines provided. Those guidelines were more exacting than any previously imposed under communist rule: the subject matter, and the historical and class analysis expressed were a l l supplied by the authorities in a control of the creative process reminiscent of (if less mechanised than) the Fiction Department of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four.39 Under the unrelenting scrutiny of the Party authorites, i t would hardly have been possible for an experienced and capable author to breathe any l i f e into the skeleton plot provided to the writers of the composition team. 168 The end result has been described (in an assessment purportedly current in the mid-1970's) as "not like a novel, not like reportage, not l i k e a c r i t i c a l essay or a philosophical treatise, yet having elements of a l l four in uncomfortable coexistence. The responsibility for this mess rests squarely with the Party authorities who, careless of any criteria but the p o l i t i c a l , demanded from their hacks a novel that read like a tract. The greatest test that the "three prominences" formula imposes on the author is that of creating a hero who adheres to the characteristics of his predecessors in the operas but s t i l l excites the imagination. Of the nine opera hero(ine)s, only one, Yang Zirong, was regularly cited as the model for real-life heroism; and certainly Hong Leisheng is not a hero for the reader to emulate. He is merely a marionette, dancing woodenly on strings pulled by a distant and omniscient puppeteer in Beijing. In addition to their failure to produce an engaging hero, the authors also ignored the single possibility that the "three prominences" characterisation formula allows the author for the presentation of doubts, concerns and psychological complexity: the "turnabout character." We may guess at two likely reasons for this omission: first, the Party representative and the literary professional had neither the wit nor the imagination to concieve a problematic character; and secondly, fear of being accused of creating a "middle character" kept them away from "turnabout characters." The unconvincing nature of the novel robs the historical 169 revision of any cogency. The analysis of the early 1950's ignores factors like the problems of combatting traditional or feudal thinking (the theme of the e a r l i e r novels on collectivisation) and local variations in the collectivisation process. Here we cite only two questions which should have been considered for the novel to carry some local flavour and credibility. First, the fertile lands and ready access to urban markets offered a good living to the majority of the fanshen peasants of suburban Shanghai, leading to greater resistance to collectivisation than in poorer areas (like the Hebei villages of Hao Ran's fiction); secondly, opposition to the Communist Party was at i t s height in this former "white" area as peasants resisted pressure to volunteer for service in Korea. History of Battles at Hongnan was an ill-starred project. Greeted initially as a "new experiment" in fiction writing for its "three-in-one" team and its "three prominences" structure, 4 1 and praised occasionally until 1975, i t f e l l into deserved oblivion thereafter. No second volume was ever published, and even the village cadre on whom the character of Hong Leisheng was loosely based was reportedly exposed and jailed after repeated sexual assaults on young women assigned to his care. The novel has been considered here to illus t r a t e the worst aspects of fiction writing in what was generally a lean period for literature in China. In few cases can a novel have been produced that was so occupied with i t s "social" function and so unconcerned with the in d i v i d u a l , so 170 tendentious, alienating and insulting to the intelligence of the reader. The same criticisms can, with variations in degree, be made of much of the fict i o n produced (especially collectively produced) in the following four and a half years. Only one author was prepared to test the limits of the opera model and attempt thereby to reconcile the dilemma of so c i a l responsibility versus individual expression. That author was the peasant novelist Hao Ran, and his first Cultural Revolution novel The Golden Road will be examined in the next chapter. 1 7 1 CHAPTER 5 EXPLORING THE LIMITS: THE GOLDEN ROAD The two volumes of Hao Ran's novel The Golden Road, which will be considered in this chapter, were released in 1972 and 1974, and represent half of a novel which was completed, but has never been published in full.* The novel shares historical background and perspective with History of Battles at Hongnan: i t describes the struggle between advocates of collective and private farming in the early 1950s, fought out within the microcosm of a single village. The forces of Maoist "good" likewise comprise a young cadre and allies within the Party and the poor peasantry; L i u i s t " e v i l " has, predictably, a representative at village level backed by a coalition of the misguided and counter-revolutionary. Despite these considerable similarities, The Golden Road is essentially different from, and far superior to, History of  Battles at Hongnan. The first difference between the two novels is in their physical setting: the action of The Golden Road takes place in the fictional Hebei village of Sweet Meadow (Fangcaodi). Hebei is a much poorer farming area than suburban Shanghai; the frequent droughts of North China make concerted effort on irrigation a virtual necessity. Historically, land reform met with less opposition, and brought more rewards, in Hebei than around Shanghai; i t is no historical distortion to show the poor peasants of Sweet Meadow awakening to the merits of the "golden road" of collectivism along which they are led by the novel's hero Gao Daquan. A more important difference concerns the organisation of the creative process. The Golden Road is not the work of an arbitrarily-assembled and ill-matched "three-in-one" writing team, but of a single gifted author who had already published several volumes of short fiction and one monumental novel. Furthermore, far from being "sent down" to the countryside, Hao Ran was himself of peasant stock, with personal experience of village l i f e , land reform and collectivisation. An individual author, trusted sufficiently to be spared constant Party supervision, he was able to explore such flexibility as existed within the opera model and the "three prominences" structure in a way that had been beyond the capabilities of the History of  Battles at Hongnan writing team. Some of the problems facing Hao Ran as he sought to adhere to the opera model were: how could literary didacticism avoid pedagogical dogmatism like that of History of Battles at  Hongnan? how could psychological complexity be shown within the "three prominences" format? how could someone whose early celebrity was as a writer of love stories incorporate these talents into a model drawn from operas whose only romanticism was of the revolutionary kind? In sum, how could the author produce art with an approved social 1 7 3 function and yet present the countryside and the peasantry as he knew them? In Hao Ran's s t r i v i n g s to balance the c o n f l i c t i n g demands of "society" and " s e l f , " of romanticism and realism, of accessibility and refinement, lie the reasons why The Golden Road, alone among Cultural Revolution novels, comes near to greatness. I. Creative Adherence to the Opera Model As the foremost (though not the only) novelist surviving from the "seventeen years" 1949-66, Hao Ran's submission to the new demands placed on authors was highly desirable to the cultural authorities. The author spoke often in favour of the opera model and the "three prominences" during his years at work on The Golden Road. Addressing a gathering of amateur writers in 1972, he credited the Model Works with reversing the distortion previously observed by Mao and Jiang Qing, whereby "emperors and generals, scholars and beauties" rather than workers, peasants and soldiers, had been the heroes; and he made high claims for the Model Works. "In a l l history," he claimed, "there have never been works of art as generally known as the Model Works, as loved by a l l members of the worker and peasant masses, and thus exercising such a vast spiritual force. We a l l have an ardent desire to study the revolutionary Model Works. He recommended the "three prominences" to his audience as "the principle we must honour in composing works of proletarian literature." 4 Though the fervour of Hao Ran's advocacy of the Model Works and the "three prominences" may have been heightened by Party loyalty and p o l i t i c a l expediency, their influence can be clearly seen in The Golden Road. The novel is orthodox, in Cultural Revolution literary terms, in its adherence to the "three prominences;" where i t differs from the operas and most opera-influenced fiction is in its f u l l characterisation not only of the central hero and a limited number of lesser characters, but of a wide range, particularly among the "masses" and the "negative" characters. In this respect i t more closely resembles the same author's previous novel, Bright Sunny Skies (Yanyang tian), than other Cultural Revolution fiction. In The Golden Road, Hao Ran also takes ful l advantage of the opera's "turnabout characters," producing, in the person of the hero's brother Gao Er l i n , the most successful character of this kind in modern Chinese fiction. As is the case with some of the Model Operas and much Cultural Revolution fiction, there i s a seminal Mao text introduced at a c r i t i c a l moment. Here i t is "Get Organised," a text dating from Yan'an brought to the fore (like the "Talks") in the Cultural Revolution. "Get Organised" celebrates the collective farming practised by the Red Army and local residents to sustain the military effort in the liberated areas in the early 1940's. Its theme is the importance of "organising the strength of the masses."-5 Hao Ran's novel can be read as a dramatic r e a l i s a t i o n of Mao's text with the 175 collectivisation of the early 1950's derived from the spirit of Yan'an. Mercifully, however, quotations from this and other articles by Mao, obligatory in Cultural Revolution writing, are kept to a minimum, averaging fewer than one every two hundred pages.^ The plot is composed, following the opera model, of a series of struggles or contradictions bearing on the central issue of c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n versus individual farming. Both sides have their leaders: the young cadre Gao Daquan represents the Maoist/poor peasant/collectivist line, while the village head Zhang Jinfa i s the front-man for the Liuist/wealthy peasant/individualist faction, whose main force is the middle-peasant Feng Shaohuai. Both sides have their developmental strategies encapsulated in a single slogan: Mao's "Get Organised" versus the current Party policy (implicitly that of Liu Shaoqi, though his name is never mentioned in the novel) "Build Family Fortunes" (fajia zhifu). The ground on which the battle is fought is the village, the aim being to win the souls of the villagers. The novel is made up of a series of interwoven stories, in each of which the central struggle is played out at an intimate and individual level. These subplots typically emerge, submerge and resurface over the course of several hundred pages before they are either brought to a climax or left hanging for a later volume. They focus on a single person or symbolic object, and frequently involve the hero only at their f i n a l stages. Of the 176 subplots f o c u s s i n g on an i n d i v i d u a l , the most important i s the b a t t l e between Gao Daquan and Feng Shaohuai f o r the l o y a l t y of Gao's brother E r l i n , which w i l l be examined i n d e t a i l below. Symbolic o b j e c t s around which s t r u g g l e s unfold i n c l u d e a w a l l of b r i c k s t h a t Zhang J i n f a buys from the v i l l a g e ' s f o r m e r l a n d l o r d t o b u i l d h i m s e l f a l u x u r i o u s house; as he dismantles the w a l l , he i s s y m b o l i c a l l y removing the b a r r i e r t h a t should e x i s t between h i m s e l f , as a peasant and Party member, and the l a n d l o r d . Constant s h i f t s i n the focus of a t t e n t i o n from s t o r y t o s t o r y as the s t r u g g l e u n f o l d s e n a b l e the a u t h o r to m a i n t a i n and d e v e l o p d r a m a t i c t e n s i o n i n a n o v e l w h i c h i s more d i a l o g u e t han a c t i o n . The u n f o l d i n g of the c h a r a c t e r s ' a t t i t u d e s to the two l i n e s i s more important than what happens to them i n a p h y s i c a l sense. No attempt w i l l be made here to present a n a r r a t i v e summary of the whole novel; r a t h e r , a few of the components w i l l be discussed i n greater d e t a i l . Characters from The Golden Road are examined below w i t h i n the "three prominences" o u t l i n e to see how they conform, and i n some cases s t r e t c h t o unprecedented l i m i t s , the r e l e v a n t opera models. i ) " L o f t y , Large and Complete"; the C e n t r a l Hero Gao Daquan i s the novel's hero; the sounds of the c h a r a c t e r s t h a t compose h i s name mean " l o f t y , l a r g e and c o m p l e t e . " 7 He i s h i s author's i d e a l of the peasant c a d r e , c r e a t e d from the p e r s p e c t i v e of the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n and 1 7 7 placed in the early 1950s. The original model for the hero had Q been the quasi-legendary peasant model Wang Guofu, and the obsessive sacrifice associated with Wang is a feature of Daquan's character; however the author claimed, in line with the literary policy of the time, to have moved away from the "realism" of the Wang model in favour of a more "typified" figure in later drafts of the novel.9 From his first appearance in the novel's prologue, Daquan is an instinctive, i f unschooled, revolutionary. The prologue recounts the hero's progress to manhood, showing his i n i t i a l resistance to the exploitation of the peasants of Sweet Meadow by both the landlord Crooked Mouth (Waizuizi) and the rich peasant Feng Shaohuai, his early contacts with Communist guerillas and his joining of the communist Eighth Route Army. By 1950, when the novel proper begins, he is back in Sweet Meadow, a Party member and also a married man with a small son, having f u l f i l l e d the dying wish of his peasant protector to locate and care for his daughter Lu Ruifen. Daquan is a leader by virtue of his political acumen and his sacrificing nature. As a hero in the opera mould, he can never actually be wrong, but there are limitations in experience and understanding which give scope for a process of maturation as the novel progresses. (The cognitive development of Gao Daquan is the focus of Wong Kam-ming's study of the novel. 1 0) He gains experience in a series of conflicts with Zhang Jinfa and 178 Feng Shaohuai which begin as the novel proper opens with Feng Shaohuai's testing of the new family enrichment policy by buying a mule. As well as his experiences in the village, Daquan gains in understanding by meeting outside exemplars; the first of these are Beijing railway workers with whom Daquan and other villagers load trains with supplies bound for the Korean front. The proletarians' unstinting efforts are contrasted with the peasants' habit of slow work and long rests. Two senior Party officals add to Daquan's education. One is Tian Yu, whose first appearance in the novel is an act of disciplined heroism, as he s k i l l f u l l y restrains a runaway horse that Daquan had bravely but unsuccessfully tried to stop. Tian's strategic approach shows him that a plan is needed, in collectivisation as in halting horses. (Hao Ran had used the runaway horse motif in an earlier story, but as an act of chivalric heroism rather than as a p o l i t i c a l metaphor.**) The other Party cadre is Liang Haishan, identified as an authorial voice in sharing both his surname and place of origin (the Kailuan coal-mines) with Hao Ran. He i t i s who introduces the seminal Mao text, and whose approval vindicates Daquan's intuitive judgments. Daquan is himself the patient educator and advisor to the villagers, especially the younger ones. He is able to patch up disagreements between his supporters, including an early squabble between male and female members of the village's youth club over a short play composed by the village bookworm Qin Wenqing 179 propagating the family enrichment policy. Daquan sides with the young women who refuse to perform in i t , explaining to the male activists that family enrichment is wrong even though i t is current Party policy. Flashes of temperment save Daquan from being a saint, as when he becomes furious at the poor peasant Deng Jiukuan for sowing seed on ill-prepared land rather than ask 1 9 for help with ploughing. However Daquan's propensity for being right places a strain both on reader sympathy and narrative structure, since he must be removed from the village for long periods to allow tensions to develop that he would otherwise have soothed. The author has admitted that the constraints of the opera model presented him from developing the weaknesses, as well 1 o as the strengths, of his hero as much as he would have liked. Separating Gao Daquan from the novel's other peasant characters, and from heroes of previous novels about the countryside, is his conscious rejection of "peasant mentality" (nongmin yishi), which the novel identifies as incommensurable with the collectivist spirit. "Peasant mentality" is portrayed as a narrow concern for one's own family and land at the expense of others. It is noteworthy that the people on whom Daquan seeks to model himself are not peasants, but the industrial proletariat of Beijing (the most advanced class in Marxist terms). The author is lending his support to the Party's attempt, mentioned above, to proletarianise the peasantry. The Chinese scholar Wang Yongsheng suggests that Hao Ran's denigration of peasant mentality results in a composite hero who is more urban 180 proletarian than peasant, to the detriment of his own and the novel's c r e d i b i l i t y . 1 4 Daquan's sacrificing of himself and his family, a virtue shared with heroes of antiquity and revolution, is symptomatic of his rejection of the traditional peasant way. In the style of the sage emperor Dayu, Daquan stays away from his home for several hours after returning to Sweet Meadow from his two months in Beijing, to the great distress of his son. He is again away from the village when his second child, a daughter, is born. Like Wang Guofu, who chose to live in a "hired hand's hut" (changgongwu), he insists on taking for himself, and thus imposing on his family, the worst housing in the village. The one who is most hurt by Daquan's sacrifices is his brother Erlin. So busy is Daquan with his duties as peasant activist that he neglects the fields for which he and Erlin are jointly responsible, and is derelict in his responsiblity, as family head, to find Erlin a wife. When Erlin finally marries, Daquan i s away buying an ox on behalf of another family and does not attend. For the author, Daquan's sacrifice is exemplary, a triumph over peasant selfishness; but to this reader at least, i t appears harsh and uncaring. The influence of the opera model can be seen in the portrayal of Daquan, as opposed to Hao Ran's earlier peasant cadre hero, Xiao Changchun of Bright Sunny Skies. Xiao is less given to wanton sacrifice — indeed the most powerful act of self-sacrifice in the earlier novel, the voluntary eating of a 181 thin soup of bitter herbs to conserve grain supplies, is made not by Xiao but by the stockman Old Ma the Fourth.^ Xiao Changchun is presented as a suitor as well as a cadre and family man, his courtship being one of the most appealing aspects of the novel he dominates.^ Xiao's romantic sensibilities would sit uneasily on the sterner Daquan. The romanticism in the portrayal of Daquan i s of the "revolutionary romantic" kind, and the element of idealism is especially strong in that the reality from which i t derived (the Wang Guofu story) was already several stages removed from the quotidien. With this reservation, Gao Daquan is s t i l l the most human, and the most successful,heroic character produced in fiction derived from the opera model. He is certainly a more likely, and more likeable, figure than Hong Leisheng, the hero of History of Battles at Hongnan. i i ) Stock Characters and Individuals: The Secondary Heroes Like Hong Leisheng, Daquan is backed by supporters outside and inside his village. The upper level cadres who support him are conventional stereotypes found in a l l novels with a young hero, dispensers of enlightenment at crucial times, and l i t t l e more. (This is the role of An Kerning in the novel discussed above.) Within the village, the secondary heroes of the Zhou family, the older peasant Zhou Zhong and his daughter Liping, similarly f a l l easily into the set roles of the experienced stalwart and the dynamic young female 1 8 2 activist. Another predictable secondary heroine is the militant Third Granny Deng, an elderly admirer of the hero, though a much warmer and more humorous character than the opera grannies. Two of the secondary heroes for whom there are no opera predecessors, but who are drawn directly from the author's own observation, are the young peasant activist Zhu Tiehan and Daquan's wife Lii Ruifen. Zhu Tiehan is derisively described by Zhang Jinfa as an "impetuous Zhang F e i ; " 1 7 and he certainly shares with that character from Three Kingdoms the qualities of loyalty and courage flawed by rashness and unpreparedness. His Party loyalties mean that, in Gao Daquan's absence, he can be induced to follow policies that are non-Maoist, but his own analytical capacities increase as the novel progresses. Tiehan is characterised by impatient enthusiasm for the tasks he undertakes, to the extent that he works himself to feverish exhaustion helping out the poor peasant Liu Xiang; by black depression when he fails, for example, to prevent Erlin from breaking with his brother; and by a boisterous and indiscreet sense of fun, eavesdropping on the conversation of his friends and then interrupting them, spying gleefully on the middle-peasant Qin Fu as he in turn sneaks a glance at Feng Shaohuai's new mule, or blundering jovially in on one of the few tender moments shared by the hero and his wife. The character of Lii Ruifen had already been rehearsed in an 183 short story, "Caixia, 0 a sketch of a sharp-tongued but loving wife of a village cadre. In the second chapter of the novel, the resemblance to Caixia is unmistakable as Ruifen banters with Tiehan about the whereabouts of her husband: "If he's not eating or sleeping, what would he be doing at home? ... He's got wheels under his shoes, who knows where he's rolled off to now?"19 Ruifen is basically undemonstrative, but springs hotly to Daquan's defence when Erlin maligns him. Hers is essentially a supportive role, a generalisation that can be applied to a l l but one of the married women in this novel 2 0 — Hao Ran's vivacious and strong-willed village girls settle into obedient wife and motherhood roles after marriage and childbearing. i i i ) _A Parallel Structure: the Villains The conventions of the operatic model require that good be seen to triumph over e v i l , and in the two operas set in the post-1949 period, the representatives of that evil are feeble and token additions to existing works. The opposition in History of Battles at Hongnan likewise fails to convince the reader that i t i s estimable. In The Golden Road, Hao Ran stretches the conventions to the lim i t in his creation of negative characters and villains. Given the historical fact of agricultural collectivisation and the discrediting of the "family enrichment" policy (for the first thirty years of the People's Republic), the v i l l a i n s , in the persons of Zhang 184 Jinfa and Feng Shaohuai, are determined and resourceful adversaries. Zhang Jinfa, Gao Daquan's antithesis, heads an uneasy coalition bound by their dislike of Daquan and their perceptions of their own interests. Zhang Jinfa, though a prominent figure as village head, has a weakness of character which, combined with the strength of his ambition, makes him subject to the manipulation of the more wily Feng Shaohuai. Zhang's motivation is suspect from the prologue where, as the landlord's foreman and an underground supporter of the communists, he is on both sides in the c i v i l war. When the communists attack the landlord's house, someone (presumably Zhang) warns him and allows him to escape; but when communist victory is assured, he leads the condemnation of the landlord, becoming both a Party member and village head. His concerns throughout the novel are to maintain his position and match his prestige with prosperity, concerns which inevitably bring him into conflict with Daquan. He misinterprets Daquan's criticisms as ambition to succeed him as village head, and fights desperately to suppress his younger rival. Initially, Party policy is on the side of individual enrichment, and he is able to unite his personal interests with Party loyalty: "Fellow villagers! From now on, making revolution is making a living! Glory to those who get rich, and shame on those who don't!"2"'" A common love of wealth and loathing of Daquan drives him towards Feng Shaohuai until, in the v/ords of Third Granny Deng "they're so close they'd think there was too much room in 185 one pair of trousers." Not that there is any love lost between the two men: Zhang is envious of the wealth that allows Feng to feed his son mantou (steamed rolls made with refined flour), and dreams he is locked in combat with him. Zhang is a complex character, an able farmer whose anxiety to please authority leads him into decisions that harm his harvest, acutely conscious of face yet humiliated by the ease with which others manipulate him. His failure to halt collectivisation is a matter of historical inevitability by the end of the second volume of the novel, and he finds himself abandoned by his allies in the upper Party echelons. Zhang's supporters parallel those of Daquan: there are two upper-level cadres and a number of allies within the village. They are distinguished from Dao's supporters along class lines — Daquan's friends are poor peasants and Zhang's constituency is among the wealthier peasants with a vested interest in private farming. Zhang's upper-level supporters are unsympathetic caricatures of a busy bureaucrat and a refined scholar-official, both out of touch with reality and resentful of Daquan's interference with their policy decisions. Sympathisers in the village include his former boss Crooked Mouth and a shadowy ex-landlord with a new identity (his name, Fan Kerning, i s a pun on his nature, fangeming, "counter-revolutionary"), neither of whom are much developed in the first two volumes. The real power in the village among the opponents of Daquan lies with Feng Shaohuai, whose progress to 186 considerable wealth was rudely arrested by the communist victory and who seeks to discredit socialism and thereby continue his enrichment. Antipathy to socialism combines with a vendetta against Daquan, who had challenged his designation as middle-peasant at land-reform (wanting him condemned as a rich peasant), and whom he sees as the stumbling-block to his own enrichment. He vows that " i f I don't destroy Gao Daquan, even in death I won't close my eyes." Feng i s the motive force behind a l l the challenges to Daquan, typically acting through intermediaries and hiding behind Zhang Jinfa's prestige — he i t is who masterminds the defection of Erlin, the bankrupting of the peasant Liu Xiang and a complaint laid against Gao Daquan by the middle peasant Qin Fu, a l l of which narrowly f a i l . Though nervous of the volatile Tiehan, Feng is more than a match strategically for Daquan's supporters; only the hero (in the manner of his operatic counterparts) can stop him. iv) The Sibling Split: Representatives of the Masses As has been noted above, the masses in the Model Operas, and in most Cultural Revolution fiction as well, are so "typical" as to be merely stereotypes of sufferers or tacit supporters without influence over their fate. Such limited characterisation would be disastrous in The Golden Road, where the author seeks to portray the process of developing mass consciousness in favour of collectivisation. The representatives of the masses must be allowed to make their own choices between the two paths available 187 to them so that the merits of the collectivist alternative can be demonstrated, and paradigmatic class attitudes must be evaluated as the choice of sides affects them. To this end the author has devised what we may describe as a sibling split, whereby four pairs of brothers, representing poor and middle peasants, youthful and mature, each divide, with one of the pair adhering to the collective path and the other to the individualist road. Though i t is inevitable that the author will favour the collective path, these parallel and antithetical cases allow him to explore more fully the implications for the individual of the two paths. While one of the sibling pairs involves the hero and his "turnabout" younger brother, the other three f a l l within the parameters of the masses. They are the older poor peasants Liu Wan and Liu Xiang, and two pairs of brothers within the middle peasant Qin family, Qin Fu and Qin Kai, and Qin Fu's two sons Wenji and Wenqing. Here we will consider two of these pairs, the Lius and the elder Qins. Liu Xiang's is a story of tragedy averted by his membership of Gao Daquan's cooperative, Liu Wan's of success subverted by an ill-advised alliance with Zhang Jinfa and Feng Shaohuai. Liu Xiang, with no capital, a sick wife and dependant children, is incapable of surviving as a smallholder. (Xu Tugen i s his equivalent in History of Battles at Hongnan, though a less convincing character). He tends naturally to the collective path, but is ashamed of his dependence on his friends and tries to conceal his problems. He thus lays himself open to attacks 188 by Feng Shaohuai, who seeks t o bankrupt L i u and f o r c e him i n t o s e l l i n g h i s n e w l y - a c q u i r e d l a n d and thu s undermine t h e l a n d r e f o r m and Daquan's l e a d e r s h i p . W h i l e Gao Daquan i s a t L i u ' s house, L i u h i t s h i s f o o t w i t h a hoe, but he c o n c e a l s h i s i n j u r y f rom Daquan u n t i l he i s i n c a p a c i t a t e d and h i s f a m i l y s t a r v i n g . Daquan, h i s w i f e and son t a k e o v e r t h e i r f a m i l y ' s r e s e r v e s of food ( d e s p i t e t h e p r o t e s t s of the food's co-owner E r l i n ) , o t h e r p e a s a n t s work L i u ' s l a n d and the women of t h e cooperative care f o r h i s w i f e and c h i l d r e n . L i u i s t e m p o r a r i l y saved, but s t i l l owes on a debt n e g o t i a t e d e a r l i e r t o buy m e d i c i n e f o r h i s w i f e . When he d i s c o v e r s , t o h i s h o r r o r , t h a t the s o u r c e of the l o a n i s Feng Shaohuai, and when E r l i n ( a t Feng's p r o m p t i n g ) demands the repayment of h i s h a l f o f the g i f t of Gao f a m i l y g r a i n , L i u i s trapped by h i s debt and again too proud to ask f o r help. At Feng's suggestion, Qin Fu o f f e r s t o buy L i u ' s l a n d , and L i u c o n s e n t s . Daquan h e a r s of the d e a l and r u s h e s t o save the v i c t i m f rom t h e b r i n k by d i s r u p t i n g t h e s a l e . L i u becomes s o l v e n t f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e a f t e r t h e f i r s t c o l l e c t i v e harvest. By c o n t r a s t , L i u Wan i s s l i g h t l y more prosperous than h i s brother; h i s w i f e i s h e a l t h i e r and he i s the proud owner of an ox. I t i s t h i s s l i g h t wealth that p r e j u d i c e s him against c o l l e c t i v i s a t i o n ; though L i u Wan's w i f e urges him t o j o i n Daquan's cooperative, Zhang J i n f a manages to persuade him that the cooperative's poor peasants would overwork h i s ox. L i u Wan agrees i n s t e a d to j o i n a nominal cooperative s et up 1 8 9 by Zhang Jinfa and some middle peasants in superficial adherence to Party policy, but when Liu needs help weeding and planting after spring rains, none of his new associates will oblige. His wife gets up too soon after childbirth to work with him, is caught in a hailstorm and dies. Her death i s a direct result of his failure to join the cooperative, while his brother's wife survives through the solicitude of fellow cooperative members. When Liu Wan joins the collective set up at the end of volume II, he tearfully entrusts his ox, the symbol of his prosperity and his loss, to his brother, the collective's stockman. Hao Ran had included a number of middle peasant characters in the earlier Bright Sunny Skies, but only one such family appears in The Golden Road. In 1975, Hao Ran decried the earlier novel for superfluity of middle peasants, but he later claimed that he had actually reduced their numbers in The Golden  Road for fear of being accused of concentrating on "middle characters" who retain an ambivalent attitude to socialism rather than being dramatically converted like the "turnabout characters" of the Model Operas. 2 4 Middle peasants are habitually treated in Cultural Revolution literature with mistrust and derision, grudgingly tolerated only because Mao had declared them to be potential a l l i e s of the Communist Party and the poor peasantry. Hao Ran explores the capacity of the middle peasants to reject or accept the collective path through the brothers Qin Fu and Qin Kai. 190 Qin Fu is the text-book middle peasant, exactly corresponding to Mao's 1926 characterisation of the "owner-peasants" (zigeng nong) who, "though they may not hope to amass great fortunes, s t i l l aspire to the status of the middle bourgeoisie. They invariably drool when they see how respected the lesser wealthy are. These people have l i t t l e courage, fear officials and are also nervous of revolution."2"* As his nickname " l i t t l e abacus" (xiao suanpan) implies, he is mean and petty, pursuing any opportunity for profit, however small. Qin shows his meanness when he anticipates that the impoverished Liu Xiang w i l l need to hire the Qins to plough his land — Qin Fu starves his family the night before so that they will eat more at Liu's expense the next day. Qin Fu envies the greater prosperity of Feng Shaohuai (the "lesser wealthy" of Mao's analysis), but timidity prevents him from taking the steps necessary to achieve i t . His avarice allows him to be used by Feng in the entrapment of Liu Xiang as the buyer for Liu's land; when the deal is broken up by Daquan and Feng makes him lodge a complaint with the higher authorities, Qin Fu, a bullying tyrant at home, kneels in abject terror at a county official's feet. At the 1952 harvest, Qin Fu sees the benefits that the poor peasants have gained from cooperative irrigation projects, but is s t i l l unwilling to commit himself to collectivisation. Qin's abiding irresolution in the received text closely resembles that of the "middle characters" who appear so often in the rural fiction of the 191 early 1960s, seeing the merits of the new collective farming but unable to relinquish the traditional ideal of independent prosperity. If Hao Ran persisted with the opera model in the two unpublished volumes, we may presume that Qin will either turn to the cause of the hero or identify himself clearly with Feng Shaohuai. While Qin Fu timidly follows Feng Shaohuai, his brother Qin Kai tentatively sides with Daquan, representing the middle peasant potential to coalesce with the poor peasants. His class status initially allies him with Zhang and Feng, but he is upset when Zhang exploits the desperation of his neighbour Zhu Zhankui for personal profit. Admiration for Daquan leads him towards the collective side, but he is by no means a fully reliable ally, backing out of a commitment to help Liu Xiang. However, as Zhou Zhong observes, Qin Kai, unlike his brother, at least has the conscience to be ashamed of his actions. These pairs of "split siblings" are not of course the only "masses" of the novel, though their characterisation is the most s t y l i s t i c a l l y innovative within the group. In fact, a large number of poor peasant characters appear, many of them painstakingly presented. There is a breadth and attention to detail in Hao Ran's description of simple villagers and their lives which sets him above writers "sent down" to write about the countryside. The most f u l l y characterised of the "masses" is the one who is also a "turnabout character," Gao Erlin. Erlin is the most sensitively portrayed 192 character in The Golden Road, a sympathetic portrait of a believable peasant torn between old and new, his responsibilities to self and society. v) Transformation of a_ Peasant Archetype: _a "Turnabout  Character." Erlin, as the sibling split from Daquan, has a l l the characteristics of "peasant mentality" that Daquan has purged from his own character. If Daquan is the model of a village cadre, them Erlin is the archetypal peasant, who "adores the trifling tasks of tending a plot and the physical strain of labour in the open fields. While Daquan neglects his own land to pursue political goals, Erlin longs, by hard and honest t o i l , to gain the best harvest from the Gao's own land. While Daquan sacrifices his own interests and those of his family, Erlin worries, first that he will not find a wife and then, when he is in love, that he will lose his chance for future happiness i f Daquan, as family head, does not act swiftly on his behalf. The preoccupations of both the brothers are revealed in a scene in which they are at work on their own land. Erlin pleads with Daquan to approach the family of his girlfriend Qian Caifeng, insisting that "the sooner it's done, the sooner I ' l l 97 stop worrying" (zao banle zao sheng xin). Daquan, distracted, virtually ignores his brother's entreaties; he is more concerned that the poor peasants, especially Liu Xiang, should have access to draught animals for ploughing. When the brothers get 193 home, Daquan rushes off to ask Qin Kai to help Liu Xiang out, with the same words that Erlin had used of his marriage: "the sooner it's done, the sooner I'll stop worrying." When Erlin heard this sentence from his brother, i t fe l t like a blow to the heart, and he thought dejectedly, "when i t comes to people outside the family (shuangxing pangrenjia) having animals to use you worry your guts out over i t , but something affecting your own brother's whole li f e , you won't even listen to i t , you sure are some activist." 28 Erlin i s haunted by dreams (he is one of the very few characters in Cultural Revolution fiction whose innermost thoughts are so revealed), of the lonely death of an old bachelor seen in his childhood, and of a horde of poor peasants with hands outstretched, begging the Gaos to give them grain and work their land. Erlin's fears, rising naturally from his "peasant mentality" make him easy prey for Feng Shaohuai. Feng propels his wife's niece Qian Caifeng at Erlin. Caifeng, a young divorcee, longs for a reliable man after an unhappy marriage, and she and Erlin are soon in love. The author gives a premonition of the danger Erlin is in the first time he walks Caifeng back to Feng's house from the youth club: "Erlin hastily turned out the lights, locked the door, took a flashlight, escorted Qian Caifeng quickly down the long stairway, and turned away towards the darkness."29 Erlin i s turning away from his brother's "golden road" into the "darkness" of Feng's influence. When Erlin breaks with his brother, at the insistence of Caifeng's family (at Feng's prompting), he builds a wall in the Gao courtyard that 1 9 4 symbolically separates him from the protection of the poor peasants. Erlin goes to work for Feng, thus moving physically and symbolically from one side to the other. His transformation from disillusion to concurrence with his brother takes place as a result of his experiences in the Feng household. First he sees Feng's ruthlessness at first hand in the plot to entrap Liu Xiang, and is himself unwittingly used against Liu. Then, though they had reasoned that Feng would treat them well (since Caifeng is a relative of the Fengs), he and Caifeng realise they are being exploited as cheap labour, and that they have lost more by denying themselves the emotional and practical support of the poor peasants than they gained from Feng's empty promises of future payment. When Erlin falls sick with exhaustion after a soaking during carting duties away from home, Feng simply abandons him. In the f i r s t of two cathartic dreams as he lies feverish in an innkeeper's stable, a shivering Erlin recalls his brother braving freezing rain to fetch him medicine, and then, in a hot flush, remembers his sister-in-law heating the kang bed for his comfort. In the second dream, he sees himself fighting with Feng Shaohuai over a bag of grain in the latter's granary. In his dream he shouts to Caifeng as she tries to separate him from Feng: "Get away! Get away! He's a treacherous wolf on who harms everyone, today I ' l l fight him to the death." Erlin's ideological transformation is thus complete before Daquan and Tiehan, alerted, rush to his aid, and i t is proved 1 9 5 as Erlin furiously rejects the money with which Feng tries to placate him. The test case of Erlin is by far the most cogent argument for collectivisation in The Golden Road in that Erlin, as a worldly and sensible peasant, first rejects the utopianism implicit in the archetypal symbol of the golden road, and then returns to the fold through b i t t e r experience of the apparently more pragmatic and profitable individualist way, rather than through p o l i t i c a l rhetoric. Because Erlin's emotions and ambitions are so natural, the reader can sympathise both with his resentment of Daquan and his return to the c o l l e c t i v i s t mainstream in which, as a poor peasant, he rightfully belongs. Hao Ran has realised the potential of the "turnabout character" in a way that noone else was able to do. What Hao Ran has achieved by his ful l exploitation of the possibilities of the "turnabout character" and by his use of the "sibling s p l i t , " is to stretch the limits imposed by the "three prominences" of the opera model, and to produce among the "masses" characters as well-developed and affecting as any in modern Chinese literature. Where the limitations can have a detrimental effect on the novel is at the top of the "three prominences" pyramid, in the character of the hero. Despite the author's considerable efforts to mitigate the hero's perfection, Gao Daquan remains too "lofty, large and complete," too sacrificing of himself and his family, too righteous and 1 9 6 unctuous, for the health of the novel. Hao Ran cannot detach himself from his hero, and thus cannot offer an independent or ironic view of him except through characters whose judgements are known to be suspect. II. Narrative Technique The question of the preferred narrative style to carry "three prominences" characterisation and other aspects of the opera model was approached by Hao Ran very differently from the History of Battles at Hongnan writing group. Instead of their dominant narrator using the novel as a dramatic monologue, Hao Ran structures The Golden Road in the form of traditional opera, with the emphasis on dialogue. Instead of a single narratorial point of view, he constantly switches narrative perspective among the novel's characters. Further, he uses authority figures within the novel to provide analysis of situations and characters rather than relying on a homiletic narrator for i t . i) Operatic Structure The most cursory glance at The Golden Road is enough to indicate that i t is primarily a novel of dialogue. The author made a conscious decision when planning the novel to pattern i t on the traditonal Chinese operas which had been his earliest cultural fare; the chapters are self-contained but inter-related scenes, each with a limited number of characters, a limited 1 9 7 frame of time and space, only one or two topics of conversation, and a single character at centre stage. Only the prologue (yinzi) like the "wedge" of the operas, stands apart from this design, following a single character, Gao Daquan, throughout i t s nine sections, taking him from Shandong to Hebei and back over the course of seventeen years, and introducing most of the major characters that will appear in the novel proper. Hao Ran's adaptation of such an operatic model was an innovation in modern Chinese fiction, but was not without historical precedent: The Dream of the Red Chamber, the novel most admired by Hao Ran, has a prologue that sets historical, physical and cosmic context, while most of the action takes place through small gatherings in intimate settings. Much of Cao Xueqin's novel i s concerned with conversations between the novel's children and their attendants in the dwellings of the Grand View Garden, in contrast to the open spaces, larger groupings and robust action that characterise most episodic novels (The Water Margin being the obvious example); in Hao Ran's novel, the intimate scenes take place in peasant homes, in the fields and at the steps of the former landlord's residence at the centre of the village; crowd scenes and large meetings are strictly limited. In The Golden Road, this operatic influence is much stronger than the simulated story-teller context familiar to readers of communist novels, and few of the hallowed story-teller cliches appear. References to other popular dramatic forms do 1 9 8 occur p e r i o d i c a l l y , but as proof of t h e i r d u r a b i l i t y among the p e a s a n t r y r a t h e r than i n c o n s c i o u s i m i t a t i o n of " n a t i o n a l forms," as had been the case at Yan'an and i n the e a r l y y e a r s of the People's Republic. For example, two popular v a u d e v i l l e ( q u y i ) f o r m s s e r v e as metaphors f o r Feng Shaohuai's p r o p e n s i t y f o r c o v e r t a c t i o n : h i s m a n i p u l a t i o n of Qin Fu's a p p e a l t o a u t h o r i t y i s "donkey-skin shadow th e a t r e " ( l u p i y i n g ) 3 1 , w i t h the l i t i g a n t Qin the puppet moving at Feng's w i l l ; and Feng and h i s w i f e are seen as performing the comic r o u t i n e shuanghuang J i n w h i c h the f r o n t - m a n ( o r i n t h i s c a s e , -woman) must p e r f o r m a c t i o n s to the s i n g i n g of the partner concealed behind. For Hao Ran, patterns of thought derived from t r a d i t i o n a l l i t e r a t u r e and popular forms, w h i l e prevalent, are not n e c e s s a r i l y r e l i a b l e . I t i s the u n t r u s t w o r t h y Zhang J i n s h o u who s u p p o r t s h i s argument w i t h : "I've heard b a l l a d s ( p i n g s h u ) of Three Kingdoms and I've seen operas of Three Kingdoms and t h e y say t h a t ... ," 3 3 We may c o n c l u d e t h a t Hao Ran's e s p o u s a l of " n a t i o n a l f o r m s " was a great deal l e s s l i t e r a l and more s o p h i s t i c a t e d than t h a t of most of h i s predecessors. i i ) S h i f t i n g P e r s p e c t i v e Rather than a l l o w i n g an omniscient n a r r a t o r to e x p l a i n the a t t i t u d e s , a c t i o n s and m o t i v a t i o n s of a l l the c h a r a c t e r s , the author switches h i s focus from chapter to chapter, by a l l o w i n g t h e n a r r a t o r t o a t t a c h h i m s e l f t o a d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r and present s i t u a t i o n s through h i s or her perspective. T y p i c a l l y , 1 9 9 we join one character at the beginning of a chapter, viewing i t s events and hearing i t s dialogue through him or her. This does not mean that the reader i s entirely dependent on a chapter's central character for an interpretation of what goes on; the author has already indicated in the prologue who is to be trusted. So we know that Zhang Jinfa is ambitious and unreliable, Feng Shaohuai grasping and unscrupulous, and Daquan dynamic and altruistic, before we are privy to their thoughts in the novel proper. The shifting of narrative perspective allows the reader to see conflicts building through the different actors in each drama. For example, the denouement to the Liu Xiang land-sale is seen from three perspectives in three chapters (vol. II, chapters 17-19). F i r s t (chapter 17), the victim of encirclement, as Liu Wan suggests to his unfortunate brother the possibility of selling his land; when Liu Xiang is then confronted by Erlin who comes to pressure him into repaying half of the Gao family grain he borrowed, we see the shame that drives Liu into agreeing to sell his land while attempting to keep the deal secret from Daquan. The scene shifts (in chapter 18) to the Qin household as they prepare for the purchase of Liu's land. Here the focus is on Qin Fu's daughter-in-law Zhao Yu'e, a covert supporter of Daquan, who prepares the celebratory meal harbouring grief for Liu Xiang, then manages to slip out of the Qin compound to warn Lii Ruifen in her f i r s t act of disobedience to her husband's family. 200 Finally (chapter 19), the action focusses on Daquan as he hears of the impending sale and rushes back to the village to disrupt the transaction and draw the moral from the story. In a subsequent chapter, the village and its inhabitants are described through the eyes of a complete outsider. This is the young cadre Xu Meng, sent from the county seat to adjudicate on the charge made by Qin Fu arising from Daquan's disruption of the land sale. Xu Meng expects to find that Daquan is a bullying tyrant, but determines to investigate thoroughly; the problem i s that she is naive and unfamiliar with the countryside. (That her gullibility is not unrepresentative of the young urban intellectuals drafted into cadre service in the countryside in those years is borne out by an autobiographical land-reform novel recently published in the West.-34) We are prepared for Xu Meng's failures of judgement as we follow her first idyllic stroll through Sweet Meadow: As she walked, she looked along this unfamiliar road on the plain, with i t s scattered courtyard dwellings, trees thick and thin of types unknown to her, piles of stuff which might have been earth or manure; a l l sorts of plants grew on fences and t r e l l i s e s , twining like the morning glories in a schoolyard, bursting with blossoms like butterflies. A sweet unfamiliar fragrance wafted through the air ... pondering which door to enter f i r s t , she remembered a new novel she had recently read about village l i f e , which described cadres sent down to the countryside "putting down roots" by paying their f i r s t v i s i t s to the poorest folks, enabling them to grasp the true situation and stand firm. 35 Her obvious ignorance of things rural — names of trees and plants, the difference between soil and manure — extends to 2 0 1 judgement of people; her f i r s t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e "poor peasant" turns out to be the former l a n d l o r d Crooked Mouth. The deception of Xu Meng and her subsequent enlightenment are more e f f e c t i v e as seen from her own p e r s p e c t i v e than they could have been as t o l d by an omniscient n a r r a t o r . (We can only imagine the heavy weather t h a t the p e d a g o g u e - n a r r a t o r of H i s t o r y of B a t t l e s a t Hongnan might have made of the incident.) The p r a c t i c e of f o l l o w i n g a s i n g l e character through a c h a p t e r i s e f f e c t i v e o n l y when the c h a r a c t e r i s one t h a t can command a t t e n t i o n and arouse i n t e r e s t . While the novel works w e l l w i t h i n the v i l l a g e and among the v i l l a g e r s , i t f a l l s short i n those s e c t i o n s where the focus i s on a stereotyped character away from Sweet Meadow. Chapters i n which the " t y p i c a l " o l d a c t i v i s t Zhou Zhong i s seen pursuing a shipment of s o l e s f o r army shoes to rescue one d e f e c t i v e p a i r , or i n which h i s daughter L i p i n g leads a p r o t e s t against the managers because of a f a c t o r y making up these same shoes i n a shoddy way, f a i l both because of t h e i r i m p l a u s i b i l i t y as p l o t s and t h e i r u n c o n v i n c i n g c e n t r a l c haracters. P a r t i c u l a r l y weak are the chapters d e a l i n g w i t h the u p p e r - l e v e l cadres, whose d i s c u s s i o n s of the v i l l a g e are a b s t r a c t and u n r e a l i s t i c . i i i ) Enlightenment through A u t h o r i t y Figures Without a h o m i l e t i c n a r r a t o r , but s t i l l f e e l i n g the need to o f f e r the reader r e l i a b l e a n a l y s i s of events and c h a r a c t e r s , Hao Ran makes use of f i g u r e s of a u t h o r i t y w i t h i n the n o v e l t o 202 address the reader on the author's behalf. These are the senior cadres and the older villagers as well as the hero Daquan. Within the village, the main voice of authority, by virtue of his seniority, i s Zhou Zhong. His assessments of Qin Wenqing, Zhu Tiehan and Zhang Jinfa, offered in his f i r s t appearance in the novel, shape the reader's perception of them as the struggle unfolds. When a p o l i t i c a l disquisition is required, i t is given by Liang Haishan. Liang delivers the novel's f i r s t political lecture at the end of the prologue, on the hardships of the road ahead; later he introduces and expounds Mao's "Get Organised" to Daquan and, late in the second volume, offers a definitive summary (in conversation with his wife) of Daquan's activities. That the reliable characters frequently express praise for Daquan also raises the status of the hero; when Liang Haishan's wife, after hearing her husband's retelling of the saga of Sweet Meadow, exclaims "Aiya, he [Daquan] is a real hero, she speaks for the reader. In the few cases where the narrator does intervene, i t is more for dramatic or rhetorical effect than to inform the reader directly what his opinion should be. In the final paragraph of the prologue, the narrator appeals to Daquan to decide and respond on the question of how he will meet his historical destiny of striving for socialism; as Liu Wan makes his fateful decision to delay before joining Daquan's cooperative, the narrator laments, "Oh Liu Wan, Liu Wan, i f only you'd 2 0 3 walked straight ahead when you lef t your house, how good that on would have been'. ° The narrator also influences reader perceptions through the physical and anecdotal descriptions that introduce each character; one need not expect reliable opinions to come from someone "short, scrawny, sallow and puffy-eyed" 3 9 like the village idler Zhang Jinshou. Rarely does the narrator address the reader directly; one occasion is to heighten our admiration for the hero: "See how well he studies and goes into things, see how loving he i s towards his comrades ... ,"40 More often, the author relies on spokesmen whom we know can be trusted, and though these are generally the novel's less appealing characters, they are nevertheless able to deliver a p o l i t i c a l message more appositely and succinctly than can the narrator of History of Battles at  Hongnan. Hao Ran's adoption of the traditional opera structure, his constant shifts in narrative focus and his avoidance of the homiletic narrator represent a departure from the narrative style of most Chinese communist literature, and the maturation of a highly individual method of writing fiction. The sophistication of Hao Ran's style avoids the dogmatism inherent in the use of a dominant narrator concentrating on an exemplary hero. The standpoints of the opponents of socialism, the "negative characters," can be much more clearly shown, and the views of the "masses," as well as those of the heroes and villains, can be represented through sections concentrating on them. Hao Ran has 204 done everything possible to avoid the limitations placed on him by the opera model. III. Romantic Love and Revolutionary Romanticism One of the greatest differences between Hao Ran's pre-Cultural Revolution work and the opera model he followed in The  Golden Road concerned the portrayal of love: in a l l the operas there is no marital relationship, no courtship, and love is defined only in class, not personal terms. How could such a model not constrict a writer who had established himself before 1966 as the most romantic of his generation, both in his short stories and in the romance between the hero Xiao Changchun and Jiao Shuhong in Bright Sunny Skies? The novel's lack of a simple and happy love story disappointed at least one young reader, who demanded of the author: "Why didn't you dare to write a love story?" Hao Ran's response was that "whether or not you write about love-life (aiqing shenghuo) is decided by the needs of the central theme and the central hero."41 Besides, he argued, he had written about the relations of three couples, Daquan and Ruifen, Qin Wenji and Zhao Yu'e, and Erlin and Caifeng. Hao Ran's self-justification indicates a change of purpose in writing about love. His early love stories had celebrated the new equality of young men and women and the free choice of partners under communist rule. Love arising out of comradeship i s a common theme in these stories, and i t i s 205 community of purpose that strengthens the bond between Xiao Changchun and Jiao Shuhong in Bright Sunny Skies. By the early 1970's the author may have f e l t that his young readers were sufficiently familiar with the concept of free choice, and should instead be reminded of the primacy of shared political interest as a basis for a satisfactory relationship. The marriage of Gao Daquan and Lu Ruifen does not arise out of free choice; rather i t is a f i l i a l obligation to the dying wish of Ruifen's father (and Daquan's guardian) Lu Changle. Only after their marriage does Ruifen "quickly get to know Gao Daquan, and f a l l deeply in love with this warm and capable / 9 peasant fellow." The reason for this i s sketched in much later in the novel, through Ruifen's memory: The f i r s t night in the bridal chamber is of course a joyous thing, but she had cried. Her man had clasped her hand and said: "Don't cry, don't be afraid, I shan't bully you. We're brother and sister from the same hovel...." With these words, she tasted sweetness and warmth again. 43 It is the memory of his consideration for her that makes her join her husband as he works through the night on Liu Xiang's land, an expression of love and shared objectives. Thereafter their tenderest moment comes as Ruifen emulates her husband's capacity for sacrifice by giving to the cooperative's funds the eggs she had been saving to nourish her for her second confinement. As a shared purpose unites the hero and his wife, so its lack separates Qin Fu's eldest son Wenji from his wife Zhao Yu'e. They are committed to different lines; he is a follower of 206 Feng Shaohuai while she, as a poor artisan's daughter, tends towards the poor peasants and Gao Daquan. In the crisis of the Liu Xiang land sale, she betrays her husband. Hao Ran implies that without reconciliation of their political views (which appears impossible), the marriage cannot succeed. The presentation of Erlin's love for Caifeng also concentrates on the effect of political and ideological struggle on personal relations. The young couple are capable and well suited, but not until they free themselves from Feng Shaohuai's grasp and shed their "peasant mentality" (as they do at the end of the second volume) can they be happy together. Fulfillment of the demands of the self (a secure l i f e with a good mate), the author argues, cannot be achieved without first satisfying social goals. In The Golden Road, Hao Ran has certainly deprived his readers of the simple village love stories at which he had been so adept. The novel represents a disciplining of his talents to the service of his theme, though not directly to his hero, as the author had claimed. Romantic love has been downplayed in favour of revolutionary romanticism. IV. Conclusion The Golden Road is a didactic work serving "society" by presenting the Party and i t s leadership (as constituted at the time of writing) positively, without compromising the integrity of the "self" either by presenting other than the author's 2 0 7 perception of events or by ignoring the needs of the individual. Hao Ran's account of the problems facing the Northern Chinese peasantry following land reform is corroborated, for example, in William Hinton's Shenfan, 4 4 and his belief in the Tightness of collectivisation was unshaken in an interview conducted thirty years after the events he described. Further, he continued to maintain, well after the hero of his novel had been ridiculed for excessive loftiness, largeness and completeness, that he had himself met village cadres quite as selfless and inspiring as Gao Daquan during the land reform, and that i f Daquan was "higher than l i f e " (gao yu shenghuo), he was also "based in l i f e " (yuan  yu shenghuo), as "revolutionary realism" requires. The impression of reality is heightened by the author's empathy for the peasant's visceral, and even sensual feeling for the land,4^ a feeling seldom conveyed in rural fiction. Though Sweet Meadow is , like Hongnan, a microcosm of nationwide and el i t e debates, the villagers who enact these struggles are the novel's key figures in The Golden Road, rather than merely pawns in a larger game played by distant rulers. The "revolutionary romanticism," reflecting the author's own optimism for the collectivist cause and faith in socialism, is not overbearing in the village sections of the novel, though where the setting and the characters are unconvincing (the Beijing railyards, the county seat), the romanticism smacks of empty idealism. The novel adheres in its scheme of characterisation to the opera model, but does not derive unmitigated benefit from i t . 208 Where the novel is strongest is in the sections dealing with Erlin (who i s , as a "turnabout," an inheritance of the operas), the other initially uncommitted peasants (of whom Liu Xiang's is the most detailed case), and the middle peasant Qin family. The effectiveness of the portrayal of the Qins in the volumes considered above has l i t t l e to do with the Model Operas, and has to do with the fact that the novel i s incomplete — a finished work would have to see Qin Fu and his family decide their destinies rather than simply allowing their characters to unfold and leaving them in p o l i t i c a l limbo, as happens here. As the novel stands, Qin Fu has a l l the appearance of a "middle character." Where the opera model does the novel a disservice is in the overemphasis of the hero, and the stilted officials who are the secondary heroes; and since heroism is at the heart of the opera model, the disservice is considerable and unavoidable. The novel would have been stronger i f , granting Gao Daquan his heroic attributes, the author had made Erlin his focus, but to have done so would have been to run foul of the taboo against concentrating on "middle characters" of Jiang Qing's "Summary." The novel downplays, to its advantage, the revenge theme of the operas. Only once does the hero "recall bitterness," and even then i t i s not his own: he t e l l s to a child the story of a prosperous peasant bankrupted by a rapacious landlord and unjust o f f i c i a l s , and forced to s e l l his three daughters in a vain attempt to remain solvent. The moral, that a peasant is insecure 209 on his own, is not lost on the boy's mother (one of the daughters of the story), who drops her objections to the family joining the collective. Mostly, however, the catastrophes that engender catharsis are not recalled, but experienced within the time-frame of the novel (as Erlin's exploitation by Feng Shaohuai), and the dramatic effect is the greater for its immediacy. The Golden Road is a flawed masterpiece, representing the best that could be achieved within the limits placed on the arts by Mao's Yan'an "Talks" and the further strictures of the "Summary." In his later Cultural Revolution novels, Hao Ran failed signally to retain the delicate balance between self and society that he maintained in long sections of this novel, moving further away from the "self" and into the domain of almost entirely "social" polemic. 2 1 0 APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 5 HAO RAN: A BRIEF LITERARY BIOGRAPHY1 Hao Ran (penname of Liang Jinguang) was born in 1932 to dispossessed peasant parents in a landlord's manure shed near the Kailuan coalmine in Hebei Province. His first seven years were spent in a workers' compound near the mine, where his neighbors included performers of the local pingxi operatic form; he was able to attend performances free. After his father's death Hao Ran went with his sister to live with peasant relatives of his mother, and was there exposed to others of China's performing 9 arts, including story-telling and shadow-puppetry. He also managed three and a half years' schooling, which allowed him to start reading China's great classic novels, before his mother's death in 1945. With the ending of the Sino-Japanese war, Hao Ran came into contact with the communist Red Army, becoming a Youth League cadre and, in his sixteenth year, a Communist Party member. His first writing was at the urging of the army, a short play dramatising land reform policy. The young author appeared in his play in a female role, as the local peasant women were too shy to appear on stage. Thereafter he wrote numerous plays and reports for village "wall-newspapers," his f i r s t printed article appearing in 1950. After taking part in land-reform in his own village, Hao Ran worked as a reporter for Hebei Daily 211 (Hebei ribao) and the Russian-language Friendship Magazine before moving to the editorial staff of the Communist Party's journal Red Flag (Hongqi). His first short story was published in 1956, and several volumes of stories followed in quick succession. His early stories can best be categorised as celebrations of China's new socialist society, consisting of vignettes of village l i f e , character sketches and simple love stories, with (as the veteran writer Ye Shengtao judged) the characters of young peasant women most adeptly described.4 While conflicts exist between old and new values and customs, the author is sympathetic to peasant conservatism, and the overall impression is one of social harmony; this prompted the criticism from Yao Wenyuan, in a 1962 review, that among Hao Ran's stories there were "too few concerned with class relationships and class struggle in the countryside" [emphasis Yao's].-* A transformation of Hao Ran's view of peasant l i f e was brought about by Mao's re-emphasis of class struggle in 1962. The author reviewed the events of his past, especially the collectivisation of agriculture, not in terras of the conflict of the new with the old, but as the unfolding of class and line struggles in a peasant society. It is this new perspective that informs his f i r s t novel, Bright Sunny Skies, which a contemporary Western reviewer described as the f i r s t novel to portray collectivisation against a background of class struggle.^ In many ways, Bright Sunny Skies 212 anticipates the Cultural Revolution novel, with its outstanding hero, a v i l l a i n within the Party and concentration on class struggle. Where i t differs is in i t s larger number of sympathetically portrayed middle peasant characters, i t s inclusion of a love story involving the hero and a lower level of p o l i t i c a l intensity. Its transitional nature i s a reason for the novel's unique distinction (among post-1949 Chinese novels) of c r i t i c a l acceptance during and after the Cultural Revolution.7 Hao Ran's move towards the kind of fi c t i o n approved by the post-1966 authorities contributed to his escaping condemnation in the Cultural Revolution. He was further helped by his poor peasant background and his lack of identification with the Party's cultural el i t e in the early 1960's, who (according to the author) disparaged him as writer of reportage incapable of psychological analysis and unversed Q in literary theory . The five year hiatus in fiction publication (1966-71) saw the author in the countryside preparing a hagiography of the model peasant cadre Wang Guofu. Though his version of the Wang Guofu story was never published, some of the material collected was used in fashioning the hero of The Golden Road, the first two volumes of which were written between 1971 and 1973. Up to this point, a l l the author's fiction had been set in the Hebei countryside; in 1974, on commission from Jiang Qing (whom he had met in January of that year), he accompanied the 213 poet Zhang Yongmei to the Xisha (Paracel) Islands. Both were charged with producing works celebrating the repulsing of a South Vietnamese expeditionary force by the island militia and the Chinese navy. Hao Ran's Sons and Daughters of the Xisha  Islands (Xisha emit) was published in two volumes within the year.9 Unaccustomed subject-matter and the author's haste in producing the novel resulted in an awkward plot and factual inaccuracies, and an experiment with a sanwen-influenced poetic prose-style compares unfavourably with the rich language of his peasant fiction. 1 0 After completing his commission, Hao Ran has claimed, he began to have reservations about Jiang Qing, refusing a post at the Ministry of Culture when offered, and withdrawing to a village west of the Great Wall to continue writing. A second commission from Jiang Qing, this time for a movie script, remained unwritten while the author wrote the final two volumes of The Golden Road. (These have never been published except in brief extracts; they were suppressed by the post-Mao leadership as incompatible with its offical interpretation of history.) Hao Ran's other writings from the prolific years 1972-6 include short stories, children's fiction, reportage, speeches and articles. 1 1 His final Cultural Revolution novel, Hundred  Blossom Village was published the month of Mao's death and was almost immediately withdrawn from circulation. The author's flourishing in the Cultural Revolution made him an object of suspicion and resentment for authors returning from 214 incarceration or obscurity after the f a l l of the Gang of Four. A self-criticism offered to the reinstated Writers' Association in November 1977 satisfied a majority of his peers, and his writing career resumed. His first post-Cultural Revolution novel Rural  Romance (Shanshui Qing) explored the hazards of the rigid class analysis he and others had practiced in the Cultural Revolution. Though he has enemies within the Chinese literary fraternity (as do most Chinese writers) his position seems relatively secure. 2 1 5 CHAPTER 6 FACTIONAL POLITICS IN COMMAND:  HUNDRED BLOSSOM VALLEY Hao Ran's final novel of the Cultural Revolution was serialised early in 1976 as Three Fires (Sanba huo) before a revised edition was released with the new ti t l e Hundred Blossom  Valley (Baihuachuan) in September of that year.1 It i s the latter text that w i l l be considered here, as representative of the fiction of the last three years of the Cultural Revolution. The physical setting of a Hebei village, and many elements in the plot, resemble The Golden Road; but the historical background is contemporary, and the political struggle of the novel is updated to epitomise not the struggle between Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi over collectivisation, but the ongoing battle between Jiang Qing and Deng Xiaoping for succession to supreme power. Stylistically, Hao Ran characterised the transition from The  Golden Road to his later novels as involving greater reliance on the Model Operas and their "combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism" in preference to his earlier, more realistic approach. "In the process of learning how to use this (the "double revolutions") creative principle," he told an audience in late 1974, "I came to the realisation that I must thoroughly reject a l l shapes and forms of so-called r e a l i s t i c creative method."'' Hundred Blossom Valley was not, as the author's preceding novel had been, written on commission from 216 Jiang Qing; rather i t was his best attempt, as a Party loyalist, at writing tailored to political guidelines currently in force. It displays the strong factional bias of the published literature of the period, which was stigmatised, following the arrest of the Gang of Four, as "conspiratorial." I. Features of "Conspiratorial Literature and Art" (yinmou  wenyi) A literary conspiracy is seen as having been a component in the media campaign launched by Jiang Qing and her associates, after the f a l l of Lin Biao, to support their claims to succeed to the top leadership roles on the imminent deaths of Mao Zedong and his ailing contemporaries Zhou Enlai and Zhu De. At the Tenth Party Congress of August 1973, Wang Hongwen, the junior member of the Gang of Four, replaced Lin Biao as second in the Party hierarchy, and the Gang's other members also moved up in the Party ranks. However, the same conference saw the restitution of Deng Xiaoping, who had been purged along with Liu Shaoqi in the mid-1960's but, who, unlike Liu, had survived the experience. Deng's restoration set the stage for the struggle for succession between two factions: the Gang (described in the West as "radicals" or "leftists") versus Deng and other returnees ("pragmatists" or "moderates"). While Deng held the government and the economy (in the Marxist metaphor, the base), the Gang controlled the media and the arts (the superstructure), and attempted to use this control to discredit Deng and his faction. 217 Much of the f i c t i o n subsequently c r i t i c i s e d as "conspiratorial" appeared in Zhaoxia (Dawn Clouds), which was published in Shanghai in the form of periodic l i t e r a r y anthologies from May 1973, and a monthly magazine from January 1974, until the end of the Cultural Revolution.^ We w i l l consider a single example here, "A Report Exposing Contradictions" (Yipian jie maodun de baogao). This story was singled out for praise after its publication in April 1974,7 and for attack in the early c r i t i c i s m s of "conspiratorial literature". 8 "A Report Exposing Contradictions" (hereafter "A Report") has the three features which typify the Zhaoxia fiction: "reflection of the Cultural Revolution", the "horned and thorned" heroic character, and the "capitalist-roader" villain. 9 The first fiction of the Cultural Revolution, including the two novels considered in the previous chapters, was set in the period spanned by the Model Operas, no earlier than the f i r s t essay in Mao's Selected Works, and no later than the early 1960's. Before 1973, no Party consensus existed on how the turmoil of the mid-1960's should be portrayed, particularly regarding the role played by Lin Biao. With Lin gone, and the danger to the Gang faction represented by Deng Xiaoping, i t was in their interest to revive the iconoclastic spirit of that early period when Deng was condemned by red guards and Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan led Shanghai's January (1967) Revolution. 1^ Fiction written after 1973 reflects the Cultural Revolution, 218 either i t s early stages (without mention of Lin Biao), as for example the f i r s t "conspiratorial" story "A Morning in Early Spring" (Chuchun de zaochen), 1 1 or at the time of writing. "A Report" i s set in 1974 after the restitution of Deng and others similarly condemned in the mid-1960's. To the qualities characteristic in the heroes of the early fiction of the Cultural Revolution — self-sacrifice, loyalty to Mao and the Communist Party, class awareness — were added an additional truculence and combativeness. Theirs was the "spirit of going against the tide" (fan chaoliu jingshen) praised by Wang i 9 Hongwen in his speech to the Tenth Party Congress. The new heroes and heroines of the fiction of the mid-1970's are mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, younger than their adversaries, just as the Gang of Four represented a new generation of leaders. Their experience of struggle had been gained in the Cultural Revolution rather than on the battlefields of the c i v i l war of the 1940's. Many are former red guards, matured but retaining their radical zeal as they confront for the second time older cadres reinstated with Deng. These young activists make uncomfortable adversaries, described as having "horns on their heads and thorns on their bodies"(toushang zhang  jiao, shenshang zhang ci). Ren Shuying, heroine of "A Report" is one such: thirty years old, a former red guard, a Party member* an experienced worker, and the mother of a small child (though family l i f e is not important to the story). Like the Gang of Four, she opposes the import of foreign technology and expresses 219 infinite faith in the Chinese proletariat; she opposes material incentives, mobilising the workforce with patriotic and political rhetoric; and she is passionate about the Cultural Revolution and a l l i t stands for. "I'm not a bad-tempered sort" she t e l l s her colleagues, "... but i f anyone looks down on the workers or says that the Cultural Revolution is no good, I just can't stand i t . " 1 3 "The struggle between the socialist and the capitalist roads" had been declared in the 1973 constitution to be an abiding feature of socialism, and "capitalist-roaders" (zouzipai) are the most frequent v i l l a i n s of late Cultural Revolution l i t e r a t u r e . 1 4 (Deng was himself called "that most unrepentant capitalist-roader within the Party" in the propaganda of 1975-6.) Industrial "capitalist-roaders" promoted material incentives and foreign technology; their rural counterparts encouraged the cultivation of cash-crops (to raise peasant incomes) over self-sufficiency in grain. The "capitalist-roader" v i l l a i n of "A Report," Hu Zhengmin, i s , like Deng, a returnee, restored to management of Ren Shuying's factory after being fired in the mid-1960's. Back in his old post, he tries to equip the factory with a foreign production-line, and when Ren Shuying opposes him, resorts to underhand tactics (deceit, covert use of personal connections, etc.) to undermine her. In this and other stories of the period, the "horned and thorned" heroine has both popular and Party support, and is vindicated by practice. For example, "A Report" shows a Chinese 220 television set produced more economically and quickly than its foreign counterpart, and productivity raised by activism rather than bonuses. The literary mirror of the mid-1970's presented a distorted image of reality, i f subsequent evidence is to be believed: while actual productivity and worker morale were low, the factories and villages of the "conspiracy" stories enjoy unprecedented levels of productivity, generated by enthusiasm for p o l i t i c a l mass campaigns; and while Jiang Qing and her radical policies (represented here by Ren Shuying) enjoyed l i t t l e popular support, in fiction i t is Deng (Hu Zhengmin) who is despised for his materialist approach. If "A Report" i s , as I believe, a superior specimen of late Cultural Revolution fiction with an industrial setting, then Hundred Blossom Valley i s i t s rural counterpart. II. The Divided Village Hundred Blossom Valley i s a much shorter novel than The  Golden Road, covering a mere 220 pages. There are great similarities in the dramatic dispositon of the two novels: in both, an established Party member and village power-holder who has pursued selfish and non-Maoist goals is replaced by a younger heroic radical, also a Party member, who leads the peasants on a new course. The deposed leader tries to regain power, plotting to discredit the new leader by sabotaging his/her policies; but public opinion and Party directives favour the young radical. The new leader is vindicated and his/her predecessor disgraced. 221 Whereas the struggle between Gao Daquan and Zhang Jinfa in The Golden Road was Maoism/collectivism versus Liuism/individual enrichment, in the latter novel i t is updated to Maoism/emulation of the Dazhai brigade versus Liuism/the capitalist road. The time is October 1975, and the National Conference to Study Dazhai in Agriculture is underway in Beijing. The setting is the fictitious Hebei village of Hundred Blossom Valley which, as the novel opens, is in disgrace for i t s failure to implement the model brigade's de-emphasis of material incentives, mass mobilisation for land reclamation, and self-sufficiency in grain. Criticism of the management of the village leads to the umbraged resignation of the brigade-leader (a rank corresponding to village head in the earlier novel) Chang Zide and his replacement by the young woman Yang Guozhen. These two represent, respectively, the capitalist and socialist roads. Yang Guozhen is a "horned and thorned" heroine, the product of the struggles of the People's Republic. Born at the birth of the state, shortly after her mother denounced the area's former landlord (Chang Zide's uncle), Yang is a former red guard, a middle-school graduate who chose to resettle in the countryside, and a member of an advanced brigade married into Hundred Blossom Valley. Like Ren Shuying, (but unlike the opera heroes), she is married; but none of them has family encumbrances. On her selection as team-leader, she packs her young child off to live with its grandmother, sends her husband to stay at his factory's hostel, and moves her bedding into her office. When her visiting 2 2 2 husband tried to persuade her to v i s i t their son by saying how much he misses the child, she t e l l s him "don't be such an old w o m a n . H e r priority is the struggle at Hundred Blossom Valley. Yang Guozhen is very different from Hao Ran's previous peasant women characters, who behave conventionally as wives by caring for children and supporting their husbands. For example, Lii Ruifen, at the start of the novel proper in The Golden Road has "completely assumed the look of a mother."10 Yang Guozhen's flaunting of village marriage customs, much to the chagrin of her husband's uncle Liu Gui'an, serves notice that she is determined to "go against the tide" in the anti-traditional s p i r i t of the Cultural Revolution: As for the wedding, the more Liu Gui'an thought about i t the more peeved he f e l t . Liu Gui'an was the senior member of the Liu family and a personage worthy of respect; besides, he was the one who'd speeded up the marriage [by counselling his nephew Liu Han], so naturally he should take charge of the proceedings. On the day, Liu Gui'an got time off and went off with the cart to receive the bride personally. Who would have guessed the bride would go to Hundred Blossom Valley on her own, by bicycle, thereby making him return home empty handed! On the day, Liu Gui'an had planned to go into the kitchen to prepare the wedding-feast himself. Who would have guessed that the bride would send the guests off one by one, so that he had done the work but later had no fun! On the day after the wedding, a new bride should go and pay her respects to the clan elder. Liu Gui'an swept his room, made tea, put on clean clothes and waited. Who would have guessed the new bride would be up at the crack of dawn and off to work in the fields! He felt cheated. 17 By comparison with Yang Guozhen, Gao Daquan i s a model of devotion to family! Gao is also a much less assertive and more 223 democratic leader than Yang Guozhen, who has absolute conviction of her own rectitude without the advice of her seniors, and completely decides the future of the village before divulging her decisions to the villagers. Where Gao learns and disseminates the teaching of Mao, Yang is replete with the slogans of the mid-seventies. Finally, Gao Daquan is both activist and peasant, frequently at work on the land, usually that of his neighbours; Yang Guozhen is almost exclusively an activist, seen only once, in the epilogue, performing manual labour. If, as has been suggested above, Gao Daquan is as much proletarian as peasant, the balance has swung completely towards the idealised socialist proletarian in the case of Yang Guozhen. She has, in fact, much more in common with the archetypal "conspiratorial" heroine mentioned above, the factory worker Ren Shuying, than with either of Hao Ran's previous peasant heroes. The "capitalist-roader" villain Chang Zide is closer to his counterpart in The Golden Road, Zhang Jinfa, though less resourceful. He is a returnee, having been condemned early in the Cultural Revolution (by Yang Guozhen inter alia) for promoting the Liuist agricultural policy of "three freedoms and 1 ft one contract" (san zi yi bao), but reinstated thereafter. His recent resignation was merely a gesture which he expected to be refused, and he spends the duration of the novel conniving to regain his former position. He represents himself as a leader concerned with distributing as much as possible of the brigade's earnings among i t s members, albeit at the expense of capital 2 2 4 projects like irrigation. The cash wealth of the brigade derives largely from a brickworks and a pear-orchard, the profits from which have been either distributed or embezzled by Chang. Chang is desperate both to regain control of these two "treasures" (baobei) and to prevent his past corruption from coming to light. Unlike Zhang Jinfa, however, he has no network of powerful supporters, and is seen operating in isolation, eavesdropping, snooping, blackmailing and deceiving. (Hundred Blossom Valley and other fiction of the late Cultural Revolution makes i t clear that cadre corruption, here that of Chang Zide, was a major social problem in the 1970's; and the same corruption recurs constantly in post-Mao exposure writings. The spokesmen of both sides predictably blame their adversaries for that corruption: in the stories of 1973-6, the embezzlers are the "capitalist-roaders", and when these same "capitalist-roaders" returned to power, i t is the "radicals/leftists" who are said to have practiced widescale corruption behind a smoke-screen of revolutionary purity. 1 9) The struggle over the brigade's pear-trees epitomises the conflict between Yang Guozhen and Chang Zide. Profits from the pears are such that Chang buys new saplings to be planted on prime land. Yang Guozhen decides instead to cut down the existing trees and replace the orchards with paddy-fields to ensure a sufficency of grain, building terraces on h i l l y land unsuited for grain to plant the saplings. Yang Guozhen's policy is very much Dazhai-style, emphasising grain production and 225 peasant participation in arduous construction projects. It i s also symbolic - she i s cutting down aging trees (the older cadres) to replace them with new shoots such as herself — a plan that one critic saw paralleling Jiang Qing's desire to clear out the old guard from leadership positions and replace them with her 20 own younger supporters. The conflict between Yang Guozhen and Chang Zide over the pear trees seems to offer a faithful representation of the positions the Jiang Qing and Deng factions, one side committed to reducing cash-crop cultivation in the cause of grain self-sufficiency, the other favouring whatever raises peasant living standards regardless of p o l i t i c a l goals. Here the bias i s clearly in favour of the radical side, but in a story written three years later, with the Gang overthrown and Dazhai losing its credibility, the same conflict was re-enacted with a different perspective. In Ru Zhijuan's "A Mis-edited Story" (Jianji cuole  de gushi), the radical young cadre who orders a pear orchard cut down and turned into paddy-fields i s portrayed as a cynical opportunist, while the old cadre who opposes i t i s a popular hero. 2 1 The novel's secondary heroes are largely drawn from the new leadership group formed by Yang Guozhen after she is chosen as 9 9 team-leader. There is the "stolid and undemonstrative" ^ old Party stalwart Chen Cheng, whose views coincide with those of the heroine but who has failed to combat Chang Zide effectively in past years. There i s the upright but irascible Chang Wu; and there are two young girl activists, Xiaoling and Xiulian, who are indistinguishable from each other and frequently speak in unison. A secondary hero from outside the leadership group is the elderly ex-manager of the Hundred Blossom Valley brickworks, Grandpa Qin, whom the heroine brings out of retirement to restore to his former post. As with Hao Ran's earlier n o v e l , i t is among t h e "masses," t h o s e villagers who have t o be c o n v i n c e d of the T i g h t n e s s of the leading character's cause, that the most rounded characters appear. There are a few such in Hundred Blossom Valley. Two represent an updated peasant conservatism; these are Liu Gui'an and the store-keeper Old Chang the Second. Theirs are not the reservations about relinquishing t i t l e to land seen in collectivisation novels, but rather the concern among those already committed to socialist collectivisation that agricultural work is being shelved while the leadership indulges in political struggle. The heroine and her new leadership group have to persuade them, and the reader, that activism actually results in higher agricultural productivity. It is a hard case to make, and the leadership group resorts to slogans rather than explanations: His face l i v i d , Old Chang the Second spoke furiously as he walked: "Production brigades are there for production, but you lot haven't even mentioned the word production for three days, you'll worry us to death." Chen Cheng explained: "What you say i s incorrect. The brigade leader is right - it's true enough that production brigades are for production, but i t has to be achieved through revolution, politics in command! 23 A peasant backslider who must be returned to the socialist fold 227 is the brickworks accountant Liu Yuan. By the time the novel opens, Liu Yuan has already strayed, trapped into debt and embezzlement after meeting the extravagant demands of his bride for a new house and luxuries he could not afford. Liu's building of his house with purloined materials has been discovered, and he is consequently in disgrace; but his embezzlement of money is known only to Chang Zide, who blackmails him with the prospect of harsh punishment i f this is revealed. Chang thus prevents Liu from exposing his own greater corruption. Apart from these three, none of the ordinary villagers is presented in any detail. Instead, the narrator refers simply to "those who were around" (zhouwei de Ten), "the commune members" (sheyuanmen), or even simply "the masses" (qunzhong), whose function is choric, greeting the heroine's pronouncements with cheers or shouting suitable slogans, in contrast to the intimate conversations seen to characterise The Golden Road. The brevity of the novel i s i n part the cause of such l i m i t e d characterisation; but difficulty in portraying peasants won over to the Utopian agricultural policies of the mid-1970's must also have been a contributing factor. III. The Opera Model; Azalea Mountain Hundred Blossom Valley is a much more simply constructed novel that The Golden Road. Gone is the traditional operatic structure with the prologue, and the concentration within individual chapters on a single character and limited sequence of 2 2 8 events. The reader is privy to the thoughts of only three of the novel's characters, these being the heroine, the villain and the old peasant Liu Gui'an, whose precipitate conversion to Yang Guozhen's point of view represents the triumph of socialist thinking over peasant conservatism. The role of the third-person narrator is correspondingly greater, though this does not result in the type of narratorial homily seen in History of Battles at  Hongnan. The political lectures are given instead by the heroine and her two stalwarts Chen Cheng and Chang Wu. The novel adheres more closely than any of Hao Ran's other work to the Cultural Revolution opera model, and to one in particular, Azalea Mountain. A brief summary of the opera follows: The partisan band of Lei Gang and his followers i s consistently defeated by the nationalist m i l i t i a of the Viper. Realising that he needs the leadership of the Communist Party, Lei Gang rescues from the Viper's execution ground the heroine, the communist emmisary Ke Xiang. Once among the partisans Ke Xiang is confronted by four conflicts: with the enemy, the Viper; with a traitor in a position of trust, Lei Gang's lieutenant Wen Qijiu; with those of the partisans unwilling to cast off unruly ways and easily duped by Wen; and with the stubborn and impetuous Lei Gang himself. An early conflict concerns the treatment of a captured landlord's servant Tian Dajiang, whom the partisans are about to beat up before Ke Xiang persuades them that Tian is a class brother forced into the service of the enemy. After Lei Gang has been captured by the Viper, Wen tries to hurry the partisans into a trap in Ke Xiang's absence; however she returns to present an alternative plan which results in the rescue of the captives and the exposure of the concealed v i l l a i n . (An allegorical reading of the opera in terms of the politics of the yeatr of i t s production as a model, 1971, is entirely possible: Ke Xiang/Jiang Qing boldly and brilliantly completes the work of her husband after the latter's death, unmasking the second-in-command Wen Qijiu/Lin Biao as a concealed traitor in the process.) Hundred Blossom Valley likewise begins in failure — the failure of the eponymous village to emulate Dazhai — which the secondary heroes (Chen Cheng, Chang Wu) recognise but cannot avert. When the saviour is dramatically introduced by the Party authorities (in novel and opera alike), the partisans/villagers are shocked to see that she i s both young and a woman. The resentments faced by Yang Guozhen are like those of the opera's Ke Xiang, as she squares up to an external threat, an enemy at home, deluded masses and stubborn secondary heroes in Hundred  Blossom Valley. The external threat i s not an armed enemy like the Viper, but rather the risk of grain insufficiency, a peril into which Chang has lured the villagers with material benefits derived from the sale of bricks and pears. The stigma of backwardness, like the stigma of defeat borne by Lei Gang's band, can be removed only by the intervention of the heroine with new policies from the Party centre. Here the solution is the literal application 230 of the Dazhai model: h i l l s i d e terracing, improved irrigation, cutting down cash crops to grow more grain, ideological mobilisation of the workforce. The enemy within is of course Chang Zide himself. (In an allegorical reading like that offered for Azalea Mountain, he plays Deng Xiaoping to the heroine's Jiang Qing.) Like Wen Qijiu of Azalea Mountain, he sees the defeat of the heroine as the prerequisite to his own rise, and seeks to exacerbate the existing discontent of the other character with her. Chang alarms the older peasants by suggesting that Yang Guozhen i s unconcerned about their livelihood, forces Liu Yuan into silence by tellin g him Yang w i l l have him severely punished, and infuriates Chang Wu and Liu Gui'an (who were responsible for exposing Liu Yuan's theft of building materials) by telling them that Liu Yuan is to be unconditionally forgiven. Further, he tries to stop brick production by cutting the supply of coal through an underhand relationship with the coal depot head. Chief among the deluded "masses" whom Yang Guozhen must convince of Chang's perfidy are the old villagers Liu Gui'an and Old Chang the Second. Like Lei Gang's men, they prefer the traditional ways and resent change. Their suspicion of Yang is fanned by Chang Zide, who takes advantage of Yang's absence to hurry Old Chang the Second into using available and enthusiastic student labour to plant the new saplings into prime land before Yang returns. His pressuring Old Chang the Second parallels Wen Qijui's attempt to rush the partisans of Azalea Mountain. Both 231 plots are thwarted when the heroine returns. Yang Guozhen satisfies the concerns of the older peasants by devising an ideal solution, planting the saplings in terraced "socialist s o i l " unsuited for grain production. The Lei Gang role, of the good-hearted hothead, is taken by Chang Wu. His conflict with Yang Guozhen over Liu Yuan matches Lei Gang's with Ke Xiang over Tian Dajiang (both Tian and Liu being brothers to be reclaimed rather than foes to be hated). Chang Wu views Liu Yuan as a class enemy because of his past corruption, and so opposes Yang's even visiting Liu. An eavesdropping Chang Zide seeks to widen the gap between the heroine and her short-tempered ally by sending Chang Wu a letter, purportedly from the "revolutionary masses" of the village, protesting Yang's reversal of the verdict against Liu Yuan. Chang, predictably fooled, is l i v i d with Yang, before she uncovers the forgery — ordinary peasants use flour and water paste to seal their letters, but this one is sealed with glue. As a piece of detection, this device is less than satisfactory — why should Chang Zide be instantly identifiable as the only inhabitant of Hundred Blossom Valley to own glue? — but i t s effect on Chang Wu is nonetheless cathartic, uniting him with Yang Guozhen against Chang Zide, just as Lei Gang is won over by the revelation of Wen Qijiu's duplicity. Finally, both Lei Gang and Chang Wu have mothers (adoptive in Lei Gang's case) sympathetic to the heroine and smarter than their sons. Chang Wu's mother explains to her son in rustic terms the threat posed 2 3 2 by the deposed brigade leader: " i f you don't do battle with this guy Chang Zide, he'll ride on your shoulders and crap on you."24 Thus, like her operatic predecessor Ke Xiang, Yang Guozhen resolves conflicts among her supporters and allies on the way to unmasking the traitor and devising the solution to the external conflict. By comparison with the slow and painful steps made by the characters of The Golden Road towards the path of the hero, the conversions of Chang Wu, Liu Gui'an and Old Chang the Second seem unreasonably swift and simple, and we have insufficient psychological evidence either for their change of heart concerning the efficacy of the Dazhai model, or for the conversion of the prodigal Liu Yuan. IV. From "Middle Character" to "Turnabout" Hundred Blossom Valley follows the model of Azalea Mountain in a l l but one major respect: the elderly peasant Liu Gui'an has no equivalent in the opera. Liu's role i s crucial in the novel (like Erlin's in The Golden Road); he must be disabused of his "peasant mentality," by reasoning and experience, so that the reader w i l l also be persuaded of the Tightness of the Party policies put forward by the hero(ine). For this to be achieved successfully, both the i n i t i a l objections and the process of transformation must convince, as is the case in the Erlin sections of The Golden Road. Liu Gui'an is the character through whom much of the action of Hundred Blossom Valley i s seen. The reader is introduced to 2 3 3 both v i l l a i n and heroine through Liu: Chang Zide as a capable peasant and experienced organiser, and Yang as a young iconoclast. Liu i s a respected village elder, but the prospect of being asked to take over as brigade-leader himself alarms him so much that he flees the village before the election for the vacant post takes place. The reader, with Liu, returns to the v i l l a g e only after the decision has been made, and Yang appointed. Liu Gui'an is displeased at the election of the female upstart (all the more so because she was ungracious enough to vote for herself) and supports Chang Zide's attempt to have himself reinstated. Chang's policy of keeping peasant incomes high and preserving the pear-orchard has emotional and material appeal to Liu Gui'an: In the old days, the people who did the work in Hundred Blossom Valley wouldn't taste the flavour of fresh pears in their lifetimes, only windfalls and rotten f r u i t . Then, a l l of a sudden, everything changed with the land reform, trees were taken away from the landlord and, joy of joys, became his very own! Liu Gui'an's thoughts went on to collectivisation - what determination had been required by the peasants to commit the trees to communal ownership! ... Besides, Liu Gui'an had another, extremely practical problem — he depended on his share of the profit from selling the pears to repay his debt to the brigade for money borrowed to build his new house ... .25 Liu is a sympathetic character - as a poor peasant, and a long-standing supporter of collectivisation, his credentials are exemplary - so his reservations about the heroine's emphasis on p o l i t i c a l activism and grain production, and his opposition to her appointment as brigade leader, carry considerable weight. To 234 this extent, Liu Gui'an, as he appears in the early part of the novel, resembles the "middle characters" of the novels of the early 1960's. Like Gaffer Liang the Third (of Liu Qing's novel History of Setting Up), he resents the disrespect for traditional ways and for himself of a junior member of his family (Liu Gui'an's nephew's wife, Gaffer Liang's adopted son). The "middle character" Gaffer Liang slowly and grudgingly comes to accept Liang Shengbao's new way, and finally admires the young man; but such a gradual reform is not seen in the Cultural Revolution novel. "Turnabout characters," like their antecedents in the operas, must be enlightened to the extent that they joyfully accept the path they formerly rejected, and furiously condemn the villains who beguiled them. Yang Guozhen confidently predicts that Liu Gui'an w i l l "be sorry when you see his [Chang Zide's] true face, and then I ' l l expect your applause for this 9 f\ new group of ours." Liu hotly denies the possibility, but he is resisting the inevitable. The transformation begins as Liu sees the treatment by Yang of the prodigal Liu Yuan. Liu Gui'an, furious when told by Chang Zide that the young man i s to be forgiven, storms to Liu Yuan's house, but watches from outside as the new leadership group talks with Liu and his wife. He is impressed that Yang scolds the young couple but s t i l l offers them a chance to redeem themselves. Liu's hostility to Yang diminishes, but he remains sensitive about the pear-orchard, leading a group of protesters to confront the new group when they hear the rumour (purveyed by Chang Zide) 2 3 5 that the orchard i s to be cut down. He is unconvinced by Yang's nostrums about considering the interests of future generations and the socialist road (as opposed to the capitalist road of the years before the Cultural Revolution), as she refuses to divulge her plans. When he later learns that she wishes to expand pear production (on terraces rather than on good arable land), he is won over, and any remaining objections he has are refuted by Yang (to thunderous applause from the inevitable bystanders). Though Liu Gui'an is now a supporter of Yang (he does indeed applaud as predicted), he has not seen through Chang Zide. Instead, he cheerfully lectures Chang on the virtues of "taking class struggle as the key link and using revolution to lead 97 production," and advises repentence from his former ways. Liu turns against Chang only after his blackmailing of Liu Yuan i s revealed and Chang himself subjected to a Cultural Revolution class analysis: [Liu Gui'an queried:] "Chang Zide has got a lot of faults. But he's not a landlord or rich peasant, and he's not a long-standing counter-revolutionary, how could he do such harmful things?" Chang Wu replied: "I think that those who walk the capitalist road are capable of any wicked deed." 28 Thus persuaded, Liu Gui'an adds his furious condemnation of Chang Zide in the final chapter. Liu's conversion from entrenched opposition to enthusiastic support for the heroine is too sudden to make the "turnabout" Liu anything like as convincing as the original one. Liu Gui'an has known perfectly well a l l along that Chang favoured material 236 benefits, so Chang's designation as "capitalist roader" should hardly surprise him, let alone have the cathartic effect presented here. He is also rather too easily persuaded that a "politics in command" approach w i l l guarantee the higher production which is his criterion for good leadership. So while Liu works well i n i t i a l l y as a "middle character", he i s unconvincing as the "turnabout" that the Cultural Revolution fiction demands. V. Purification through Fire In The Golden Road, the path associated with the hero is characterised by brightness. It w i l l be recalled that in rejecting his brother's vision, Gao Erlin turned away from light towards darkness. The golden light that colours the archetypal road to socialism is benign and welcoming. In Hundred Blossom  Valley, the heroine's leadership is associated (as the t i t l e of the f i r s t version implies) not with light, but with f i r e . The earlier t i t l e derives from a proverb often quoted in the novel: "a new offical lights three fires" (xinguan shangren sanba huo), meaning that the newly-appointed Yang Guozhen can be relied on to disrupt the village. Yang Guozhen's fire is purgative in nature, burning away the dross to bring out the pure qualities of the villagers. The Party secretary on whose recommendation she is appointed brigade-leader advises her to "light a f i r e to reveal the true and the fa l s e . " 2 9 By visiting the villagers and uncovering smouldering resentments, Yang is seen by Chang Zide to be lighting fires that w i l l do him no good. Indeed, by the end of the novel, Chang i s described by Liu Gui'an's wife as "like a man with a f i r e up his arse" (huoshao pigu yiyang). u When Chang i s decisively condemned by the villagers, he crumples "like gaoliang (sorghum) stalk burnt by a fierce fire."3-'- Liu Gui'an, analysing past events after his conversion to the heroine's side, sees (in an obvious reference Mao's observation that "a single spark can light a prairie fire") that before Yang Guozhen's arrival* the village was like kindling, needing only her spark to set i t in flames. In addition to its purging function, the fire which pervades the novel w i l l also, the heroine hopes, "light up a clear and bright new road."J In the conclusion to the epilogue, the peasants resolve to t e l l their descendents the story of the fire l i t by the new