Barnlitteratur som medel och mål : Zhang Tianyi och den kinesiska barnlitteraturens utveckling

Kerstin Johansson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis investigates the origin of children's literature in China and traces its evolution in connection with the author Zhang Tianyi, who is officially considered as one of the forerunners of Chinese children's literature. Children's literature in China is a little studied field, although the sources for a study are abundant. The thesis studies children's literature in its social context, which involves both social and economic aspects, such as education, popular literacy and the idea of childhood, but it is also seen as being part of a literary tradition. In the early 20th century Chinese literature was influenced both by Western literature and by national traditional forms. Zhang Tianyi, the author of satirical books in the 1930's, is here considered to be a representative of a return to traditional forms. In the thesis his literature for children is analysed as seen from a child's perspectiv, an aspect from below. Some other authors of the same generation - Ding Ling, Ba Jin, Lao She and Ling Shuhua - are singled out for a comparison and representative works are analysed in the same way. Zhang Tianyi's works of the 1950's are also analysed and compared to works by the authors Ren Dalin, Xiao Ping and Gao Xiangzhen and some of the prize-winning works in the 1954 nation-wide competition of children's literature. In the thesis I have tried to show how the literary form of children's books adapts to different purposes, in the first half of the 20th century when Chinese authors were seeking for a new public. The genre of children's literature became a mixture of literary styles and opened up for a literary dialogue between different classes of society. Zhang Tianyi pursues the tradition of satire in the shape of children's literature but his uncertainty about the genre helps to explain why he is seen as a forerunner of children's literature. Hopefully I have contributed to a better understanding of the origin of children's literature in China and the different aspects - social and literary - involved in the evolution of this literary genre. I also hope to have made a contribution to the research on the author Zhang Tianyi, whose writings for children need more scholarly attention.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Chinese Studies
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 Sep 16
Print ISBNs91-628-5740-1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2003-09-16
Time: 13:15
Place: Java-salen, Department of East Asian Languages

External reviewer(s)

Name: Lodén, Torbjörn
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Stockholms universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History and Archaeology


  • literature criticism
  • General and comparative literature
  • Chinese literature
  • children's literature
  • national forms
  • comparative literature
  • literary tradition
  • Languages and literatures of South and South-East Asia
  • Kinesiska och språk och litteratur från Syd- och Sydostasien
  • Chinese
  • literary theory
  • Allmän och jämförande litteratur
  • litteraturkritik
  • litteraturteori

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