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China's Stefan ZweigThe Dynamics of Cross-Cultural Reception$
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Arnhilt Johanna Hoefle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824872083

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824872083.001.0001

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The Antibourgeois Bourgeois Writer

The Antibourgeois Bourgeois Writer

The Rediscovery of Zweig in Communist China

(p.67) Chapter 4 The Antibourgeois Bourgeois Writer
China's Stefan Zweig

Arnhilt Johanna Hoefle

University of Hawai'i Press

Despite the author’s bourgeois class background and the subject matter of his writings, Stefan Zweig’s novellas were among the very few foreign-language works that were still published under Mao Zedong’s strict communist rule. Analyzing the rhetoric of the academic articles and commentaries published with the translations, this chapter traces the trajectories of Chinese perspectives on Stefan Zweig’s works after the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 and until the 2000s. Declaring Zweig’s novellas to be socio-critical literature, Chinese critics had developed a strategy during the Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956 to make the writer acceptable to his communist censors. According to their interpretation, Zweig’s works fiercely attack the moral decay, emptiness, hypocrisy and brutality of bourgeois society in which women, in particular, suffer. Even after the Mao era came to an end, this way of reading Zweig’s novellas has persisted. Comparing European and North American narratives on Zweig that construct him as an “apolitical” and “nostalgic” writer, the Chinese reception in fact reveals an important socio-critical impetus, especially of the “women novellas,” that has been ignored in Western academia so far.

Keywords:   Hundred Flowers Campaign, Mao Zedong, People’s Republic of China, Academia, Censors, Communist, Nostalgic, Bourgeois society

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