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The publishing of youth-literature in China Zhao, Lingyun


The publishing of youth-literature in China, which is defined as literature written by and for youths aged 14 to 20, emerged at the beginning of the twenty-first century and quickly became a large scale phenomenon. Over the last decade, it has continued to grow and expand. This study traces the publication of one particular book by drawing on the author’s first hand experience and, more importantly, reveals the inner mechanisms and external social and cultural elements that have shaped this trend in Chinese publishing through careful examination of the publishing histories of two leading youth writers. The author argues that several major elements worked together to make this phenonemon extraordinarily successful: state-owned and private publishers pursuing profit; rebellious or material-oriented youth writers pursuing success; and China’s first only-child generation craving for self-expression and entertainment. These elements were further enhanced by the flourishing of internet and youth popular culture in the new century. This study also reveals that the success of youth-literature publishing comes with consequences for the growth and welfare of Chinese youth. Not only does the pitfalls of commercialization work in publishing for children, but the result has much to do with the history of Chinese children’s literature and the roles that children play in it. By carefully examining controversies, scandals, and debates that have been common in the publishing phenomenon, the author also offers readers a glimpse of the Chinese publishing community and industry, as well as Chinese society during this transitional time.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada