Children's literature in China during the Cultural Revolution period has never been adequately explored since the end of the movement. Contrary to the assumption that the government at that time neglected children's literature, they paid much more attention in order to bring up worthy successors to the “socialist revolutionary cause.” But of course, this “attention” was always tightly controlled and stiflingly suppressed rather than relaxed and encouraging. In this article, the author first traces the political pressure and intervention during the time of the “seventeen-year literature,” which spans from the founding of the new republic to the eve of the Cultural Revolution. The author then will describe the unprecedented disasters inflicted by the extreme policies and guidelines during the Cultural Revolution on the cultural fields, and on children's literature especially. With concrete examples and textual analyses, the author will point out the major features of children's literature during that time. Politically, children's literature had to firmly keep in mind the “class struggle,” follow the numerous guidelines, and write for “the masses,” for politics, and for “the proletariat revolutionary cause.” Thus instead of promoting knowledge acculturation and science education, children's literature was deprived of interest and delight, descending to a stereotyped, dry and dull, and repetitive megaphone of politics or brainwashing instrument. The ironic phenomena of collective authorship and the concept of individual heroism in children's literature during that time will also be analyzed in this article. In conclusion, the author wants to point out that the long-fettered mind could not be easily liberated and that it takes more than one generation to recover from a nation's cultural and spiritual catastrophe.

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