Mao Zedong’s views on literature were enigmatic: although he coerced writers into “learning the language of the masses,” he made no secret of his own enthusiasm for Dream of the Red Chamber, a novel written during the Qing dynasty. In 1954 this paradox appeared to be resolved when Li Xifan and Lan Ling presented an interpretation that saw the tragic love story as a manifestation of class struggle. Ever since, the conception of Baoyu and Daiyu as class warriors has become a powerful and unquestioned cliché of Chinese literary criticism. Endowing aristocratic protagonists with revolutionary grandeur, however, violates a basic principle of Marxist orthodoxy. This article examines the reasons behind this position: on the one hand, Mao’s support for Li and Lan’s approach acts as a reminder of his early journalistic agitation against arranged marriage and the social ills it engenders. On the other hand, it offers evidence of Mao’s increasingly ambiguous conception of class.
DuXianrong杜賢榮, '“Mao Zedong du ‘Hong lou meng’ fangfalun yanjiu 毛澤東讀《紅樓夢》方法論研究 [On Mao Zedong’s Methodology When Reading Dream of the Red Chamber]”' (1997) 1Mao Zedong sixiang yanjiu 毛澤東思想研究 [Research on Mao Zedong Thought]: 90-93.
GoldmanMerle, '“The Political Role of Literature and the Intellectuals”', in Roderick MacFarquhar(ed), The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: From the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward, (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA1989) 39-58.
SunYuming孫玉明, '“ ‘Hong lou meng’ yanjiu pipan yundong fasheng de ouran yu biran (shang)《紅樓夢》研究批判運動發生的偶然與必然(上) [The Haphazardness and Necessity of the Dream of the Red Chamber Research Criticism Campaign, Part 1]”' (2012) 4Xin wenxue shiliao 新文學史料 [Historical Materials of New Literature]: 61-81.
TongJing佟靜, '“Hong lou meng yueju gaibian yanjiu shuping 紅樓夢越劇改編研究述評 [Research Commentary on the Yue Opera Adaption of Dream of the Red Chamber]”' (2014) 1Hong lou meng xuekan 紅樓夢學刊 [Studies on Dream of the Red Chamber]: 109-40.
WangXuedian王學典, '“ ‘Hong lou meng yanjiu’ da pipan yuanqi jiemi—liang ge ‘xiao renwu’ zhihan ‘wen yi bao’ de shi shifou cunzai? ‘紅樓夢研究’大批判緣起揭秘——兩個‘小人物’致函《文藝報》的事是否存在? [Unmasking the Genesis of the Dream of the Red Chamber Criticism Campaign—Can It Be True That Two ‘Unimportant People’ Wrote a Letter to the Literature and Art Journal?]”' (2012) 3Hong lou meng xuekan: 2-22.
ZhanDan詹丹, '“Makesi zhuyi hongxue de shenmei weidu: cong Li Xifan xiansheng youguan ‘Hong lou meng’ de wanjin lunzhe tanqi 馬克思主義紅學的審美維度—從李希凡先生有關《紅樓夢》的晚近論著談起 [The Aesthetic Dimension of Marxist Red-ology: A Discussion of Li Xifan’s Recent Work on Dream of the Red Chamber]”' (2014) 5Hong lou meng xuekan: 22-50.
Merle Goldman“The Political Role of Literature and the Intellectuals,” in The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao: From the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forwarded. Roderick MacFarquhar et al. (Cambridge ma: Harvard University Press 1989) 40.
After1950the musical was also adapted to film ballet and Beijing opera. Cf. Zhang Xiaofang 張小芳 “Geju de muhou gushi 歌劇《白毛女》的幕後故事 [Behind the Scenes of the Opera The White-Haired Girl]” Fujian dangshi yuekan 福建黨史月刊 [Fujian Journal of Party History] 3 (2016): 44-47.
Cf. Stuart R. SchramThe Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung (London: Pall Mall Press1963) 43.