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Title: Characterisation and lexical style in Chinese novels of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
Author: Yang, Lan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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Around 130 novels were officially published during the Cultural Revolution (CR). Among them, 24 novels which concern agriculture under the People's Republic occupy a prominent place. The investigation presented in this dissertation concentrates on these CR agricultural novels. Chapter I is the introduction, which discusses the theoretical foundation of CR novels through surveying the Chinese Communist Party's policies on literature and the arts. The tenets of Mao's 'Yan'an Talks' and the slogan 'Combination of Revolutionary Realism and Revolutionary Romanticism', along with the newly established principles generalised from the model theatrical works receive special emphasis. Chapter II is literary analysis, which concentrates on exploring the characterisation of the main proletarian heroes in a comprehensive (ideological, cultural, literary and aesthetic) perspective. It analyses six aspects with regard to the heroes: personal background physical qualities, ideological qualities, temperamental and behavioural qualities, the nature of the temperamental and behavioural qualities, and the prominence given to them. Chapter III is linguistic analysis, which focuses on vocabulary. The analysis is based on 10 sample novels (3 pre-CR novels and 7 CR novels). Twelve stylistic categories have been established through statistical analysis: vulgar expressions, ideological words and expressions idioms proverbs, xiehouyu, classical views, 'bookish', 'colloquial', dialectal words, military items in metaphorical use, meteorological items in metaphorical use, and inflated items. The investigation presents the density and distributions of the stylistic items concerning narrators and different types of characters, the general fictional language style, the relation between the general style and the authors' individual language style, and the similarities and differences between the pre-CR novel language style and CR novel language style. Chapter IV is the conclusion, which, after highlighting some significant findings, indicates that the position of CR novels in the history of contemporary Chinese literature cannot be ignored. These novels comprehensively tested the Party's orthodox literary and artistic principles in fictional creation. They not only carried forward the radical direction of the pre-CR novels but also indirectly determined the deviation of the post-CR fiction from its predecessor. By focusing on the detailed analysis of literary and linguistic aspects of CR fiction, the thesis corrects common errors in generalisations about the literature and language in the Cultural Revolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available