Friday, December 15, 2006

Little Red Reference

An interesting New York Sun piece on an exhibit of Chinese books caught my attention with this reference. My handful of long-time readers will note the irony:

"My generation has a very awkward relationship with words and books," one of the best-known contemporary Chinese artists, Xu Bing, said in a recent interview. His parents worked at Beijing University, and he spent considerable time in the library: Before he could read, he was already very familiar with books as desirable objects. "By the time of the Cultural Revolution, I could read, but there weren't any books available. The entire country read only one book: Mao's ‘Little Red Book.' We read and memorized that book all day. At the end of the Cultural Revolution, I returned from the countryside to Beijing to study. Because I was starving for culture and was in the midst of a general cultural fever at the time, I read many different types of books."

(Emphasis added-DD)

2 Comments:

Anonymous professor ed said...

I cannot help but think of this wonderful "workers paradise" every tme I purchase electronics, clothes, and in some cases, even food.

9:57 AM  
Blogger FreadomistaW said...

When I had a copy of the First English Edition of the Red Book ILL'd to me:

see: http://members.dialmaine.com/wskold/LRB2.html

Nobody in the FBI came knocking on my door.

One fascinating, and sad tally that has not yet been made by Chinese scholars yet, is a good estimate of how many books were burned during Mao's reign.

It will be a staggering number for sure....

3:47 PM  

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