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The term of “Classical Realism” was derivate from the dominate discourse of realism and used for studies of Chinese ancient vernacular novels ever since 1950s. Wu Zuxiang took this term and organized his analysis of Dream of the Red Chamber with the Marxist literary theories. Wu’s adoption of realism principle might be defended as a strategic cover for that the discussion of literary skills would be labeled as bourgeois in that period. This paper attempts to argue that the framework of Marxist literary criticism had indicated the transformation of scientific method of literature analysis. And Wu’s remark of Dream of the Red Chamber as the “great work of Classical Realism” is rather a conclusion from his consistent reflection on new literature after May Fourth, rather than the influence of ideological construction.

In: Frontiers of Literary Studies in China