The Ideological Role of Chinese Children’s Rhymes and Poems in the Twentieth Century
The role of traditional rhymes is examined within the context of a male-dominated family hierarchy of Confucian thinking that profoundly shaped children’s development. The language and literature reforms of the 1920s brought a poetry revolution in China, as authors began to write for children in the vernacular language and offer a purposeful argument against Confucianism, in favour of science and democracy. Literary approaches evolved, first into the socialist-realist approach of the 1940s and 1950s, then into the «three prominences» of the Cultural Revolution. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, children’s rhymes promoted the messages of modern science, but maintained a traditional Confucian outlook. In the 1980s, children’s poetry in the People’s Republic of China began to follow a new direction, in keeping with the new era of cultural and economic liberalization.
This book uses the evolution of the children’s poetry genre to provide a fascinating insight into Chinese political, moral and social life in the twentieth century.
Historical note on major political movements in Taiwan 1895–1987
1895–1945 Japanese occupation of Taiwan
After defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War in 1895, China ceded the territory of Taiwan to Japan. The occupation, not always unopposed by the local populace, continued until the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945. The economy, culture and language of Taiwan were greatly influenced by the Japanese presence.
1949–1987 Martial law in Taiwan
Chiang Kai-Shek imposed martial law throughout the Republic of China in 1948, in the face of growing Communist strength. The law did not extend to outlying areas such as Tibet and Taiwan, but when Chiang and the KMT moved to Taiwan, it was officially imposed on the island.
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