New Literature’s Critique of and Succession to Traditional Culture

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.11, 2014


New Literature’s Critique of and Succession to Traditional Culture



Song Jianhua


Although Chinese New Literature was strong anti-traditional in expression, this does not sever the ties of blood that link it to traditional culture; and although it advocates a Western humanistic spirit, it does not set up Western literature’s aesthetic values. Due to the cultural distinctiveness and historical continuity of the Chinese language, it was never possible for the New Literature to become totally “Westernized” and turn its back on the mother culture. Therefore, when examining the modern transition of Chinese literature as a whole, we must pay attention to its conscious inheritance of the national cultural tradition and to its traditional and anti-traditional operating strategies instead of insisting on its inevitable ties with modern Western literature. The New Literature is after all “Chinese” new literature; no matter how many external factors intervene or are involved, this cannot change its cultural attributes or its identification with national culture. This is the premier precondition for our understanding of the modernity of New Literature.