Trip down memory lane : revisiting red classics as television drama in post - Mao China

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In the post-Mao era, the boundaries of the Red Classics, the canonical Chinese socialist literary and theatrical works, and the values and aesthetics they promoted were transgressed. By adopting the “circuit of cultures” as a methodology, this thesis explicates how a canonical body of texts created to politicise and educate socialist citizens has been transformed into TV dramas appealing to an increasingly sophisticated, demanding audience. The study situates the transformation of the genre within the context of China’s transition from a Maoist socialist society to a neoliberal one. The TV adaptation of the Red Classics embodies the transition from an era dominated by mass production and consumption for ideological control to an era in which political indoctrination and market differentiation compete for audiences in contemporary China. In this process, the norms and standards prescribed by the Red Classics have been dismantled, subverted, transgressed, and re-written.
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