Renditions no. 68 (Autumn 2007)
Leaping to Diaster: Village Literature and the Great Leap Forward
This collection presents opposing pictures of rural China during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1960), the grand delusion that led to the worst famine of the 20th century. Stories and poems written at the time express boundless, if ill-founded, optimism for a communist utopia. Two decades later, fiction about its aftermath reveals its tragic impact on the peasantry. Set against the backdrop of inflated propaganda and immense hardships are tales of heroism, romance and disillusionment.