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Reading the Literature of the “Post-Revolution” Era — The Comparison between the “386” and the “Educated Youth” Generation

  • The Journal of Chinese Cultural Studies
  • 2019, (44), pp.23-48
  • DOI : 10.18212/cccs.2019..44.002
  • Publisher : The Society For Chinese Cultural Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature > Chinese Literature > Chinese Culture
  • Received : April 25, 2019
  • Accepted : May 21, 2019
  • Published : May 30, 2019

Kim,NamHee 1

1인천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Karl Mannheim, the sociologist who spent his youth in the midst of war and revolution and started the groundwork for his sociology of knowledge in the early 20th century, highlighted the collective nature of consciousness. According to him, to think is always to participate in or conspire a collective thinking, rather than just anisolated activity of anindividual. As such, thinking acts as criteria of judgement and action for an individual and characterizes one generation as well. The “Educated Youth” is a generation that has common experiences and shares collective mind and thinking. They were Red Guards during the “Cultural Revolution”, then were sent-down to rural areas, and later were brought back to cities as a group. So it is logical to suggest that they as one generation feel a sort of solidarity and have some characteristics in common. It is also not by chance that they got together under the banner of the “Root-seeking Literature.” In order to properly understand the motivation and development of the “Root-seeking Literature” and its seeking roots, it is highly required to consider the writers’ generational characteristics and related narrative characteristics. This approach will be of use in bringing to light the social context and previously unseen dimensions of the literature. Based on this hypothesis, this paper compares two well-known literary groups, the “386 Generation” in Korea and the “Educated Youth” writers in China, exploring how each group’s collective historical experience has shaped the vision of the future respectively and how the vision influenced each group’s literary representation. Firstly, this paper will make a diachronic overview of the “Educated Youth” writers and their literature. Then the case of the “Educated Youth” will be compared to the literary production of the “386 Generation” who is also famous for its unique generational characteristics. In doing so, this paper seeks to cast new and revealing light to each generation’s way of thinking.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.