From a Literary Revolution

From a Literary Revolution
to a Revolutionary Literature

By Cheng Fang-wu
translated by Michael Gotz

I. The Social Basis of the
Literary Revolution
Every social phenomenon must have a social basis from
which it arises. So, wherein lies the social basis of our Literary
Revolution of the past ten years? According to my
investigation, it should be as follows:
A. The 1911 Revolution, the failure of the democratic
revolution against feudal power, along with the rapidly
advancing oppression of imperialism, caused a portion of the
so-called intellectual class that had already been in touch with
world currents to engage wholeheartedly in the thought
enlightenment movement (the so-called New Culture Move-
B. This kind of campaign for enlightened, democratic
thinking necessarily demanded a new medium of expression
(the Vernacular Literature Movement).
However, the leisure class intelligentsia of the time
lacked both a thorough knowledge of the age, as well as a
thorough understanding of its thought. Moreover, the majority
were literary people, so their achievements were limited to
superficial enlightenment, and their greatest efforts were
primarily in the area of the new literature. Consequently, the
New Culture Movement more or less became identical with the
New Literature Movement, and it was overshadowed by the
literary movement almost to the point of disappearing without
a trace. In fact, in terms of visible achievement, only a few
slight and indistinct rays of light of the literature remain.

II. The Historical Significance
of the Literary Revolution
Historical development invariably proceeds by the
dialectical method (dialektiscbe Metbode). As a result of a
change in the economic base, the mode of human life and all
ideology change accordingly. Consequently, the old way of life
and old ideology are sublated (auf[geho]ben) as new ones
The invasion of the torrent of modern...