Some Opinions on Our Literature and Art Work

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8 March 1956

Liu Shaoqi

I

Whether or not people-run theatre troupes should be changed into government-run, requires research. As it is still uncertain, they will not be changed for the time being. But first, “republican classes” of a cooperative nature are undertaken, to be led by Party and Youth League members and positive elements. We must pay attention to improving internal relations, and implement reform through internal forces. First and foremost, we must use material benefits to stimulate their labour, and require the labourers to be concerned about their own labour from their material life. They may not be unconcerned about the results of their labour because they are State-run, as if it is all the same whether the audience likes it or not. Workers are concerned about the results of their work, this is an objective rule of Socialism. State-run theatre troupes shall also pay attention to and be concerned about the results of their own work. Second is dealing with actors, good actors’ wages must be a bit higher, and the wages of the less good ones a bit lower. The method of concluding contracts may be used. They have the right to sign contracts, and also have the right to refuse to sign contracts. “Home parties with hired performers” are the method of old society concerning theatrical companies. Now, no more “home parties with hired performers” are organized, because it looks down upon artists.

If a few thousand theatre troupes are State-run, it may do away with enthusiasm. This is not stimulating, but it hinders progress. We should do things in cooperative ways, and having the State run things, is “leftist”. Any affair is the same, without clear superiority, there should be no reform, or reform should at least be slower. We must let people-run professional theatre troupes be run again for a period. For example, in two our three Five-Year Plans, let them compete with State-run theatre troupes, see who’s audiences are the largest, see who is the most able, and obtains the love of the people.

We must appropriately organize individual labour. Some individual labour is of a long term, such as reparations and other trades. Music instrument production can as far as possible be done in cooperatives. Cultural appliance production that can be done in cooperatives is to be done in cooperatives, and that cannot be done is to be done through individual labour. The problem lies in how to organize in a way that is suited to their characteristics. Concerning scattered entertainers, they can be permitted to register, and given licenses. If we that storytelling with drum accompaniment is also individual labour, we must also let them run everywhere, but we must appropriately organize matters, and must adapt to their life situation, for the convenience of their spiritual work. How to organize matters wall may be talked over with them. These organizations must not always hold meetings, they may hols one or two meetings annually, and the times may also be fixed. When holding meetings, democratic forms are adopted, have fun for a day, have a lively time, everyone is happy. If the members run into difficulties, they can negotiate with relevant sides to help them resolve these; we must also help them in organizing study, listen to reports, wherever they flow toward, they may always listen to reports. A bit more political and ideological work must be done for them. Literature and art troupes must also help them. They are not suited to centralized life, they must not be coerced into collective life, but we must be a bit more relaxed.

We must pay attention to developing consignment and commission selling. Small book stands (including the rental sector) may adopt consignment selling and commission selling methods. The consignment selling sector may determine a batch of consignment sellers, and pay commission on the basis of sales. This is in reality paying wages. The commission selling sector has its own capital, and should not eat it, it may have difference between wholesale and retail prices, the price difference is also equivalent to wages. In the countryside, it is permitted to have shoulder pole sellers, they do their round in one month, and may also have fixed customers and fixed circles.

II

Our policy is to let a hundred flowers bloom, get rid of the old to gain the new. But “gaining the new” cannot be coerced, literature and art reform must undergo certain efforts. Wanting to have children without getting pregnant is impossible. Letting a hundred flowers bloom is permitting to matters coexist, and each does is own. For example, foreign and domestic things may all be done.

When performing “Fisherman’s Revenge”, wearing patched clothing is no good. The people like pretty people and clothing, this must be done too realistically. Drama reform must not be large reform, if it is harmful, it is reformed, is it is not harmful, it is not reformed. Some old dramas have a great educational sense, and must not be reformed wantonly. New literature and art workers going to opera theatres and troupes to conduct theatre reform, must not act impetuous. They must absolutely “settle things when conditions are ripe”, and “channel the water through the channel”. They cannot reform prematurely, or be too excessive in reform, they cannot reform matters too alike. Beijing opera art levels are very hard, this cannot be belittled, and it cannot be wantonly reformed. Getting rid of it is no god. Not adopting policies of support, assistance or development, but adopting belittling, neglecting or suppressing policies are incorrect. If we do not understand Beijing opera, we may use slide projectors to provide subtitles, the language spoken in those times must not be reformed, and be written out as before. Naturally, if the melon is not picked when it is ripe, it will fall down, drama reform is like this, and all sorts of reforms are like this.

Wanting to pick the melon if it is not ripe, is subjectivism. At present, subjectivism, factionalism and eight-legged Party writing all exist. It is suggested that everyone reads Comrade Mao Zedong’s “Yan’an Talks on Literature and Art” another time. Literature and art circles must rectify work styles.

Reflecting modern life cannot be forced. Foreign song and dance are very hard to reflect, even if we can reflect them, there only are a few dramas. We must let local drama each use their strong points, and give rein to their function. We must not believe that they cannot perform modern drama, and not give them regard. The taste of the audience is different, some want to listen to entire dramas, some want to listen to parts. the majority likes dramas with a strong story. Peasants like to listen to successive wagon dramas. Having seen opera highlights and being able to get some rest, make people happy, this is very good. Doing entertainment and rest well, helps us in giving rein to Socialist vigour of people. Watching “Swan Lake” may raise moods. The art level of the “Goddess of Paris” are very high, this also has an educative function.

What is good in ourselves, we must preserve and carry forward, what is good abroad must be absorbed. Films of all countries in the world must all be brought in, including American. One kind is progressive, one sort is harmless. Harmless ones, that can help in understanding situations may also be imported. Harmful ones must not be imported.

New operas are very good. For example “The White-Haired Girl” is much loved by everyone, foreigners having watched it are also moved. Do we have a history of opera? We do. “The Grape Fairy” and “The Sparrow and the Child” are all not bad. The Foreign Studies School run before, studied Japan, at that time there were some songs from sing and dance that were very widespread. If these are compiled into an opera, these can be brought from the dark into the sunshine. We may not despise the creations of the Li  clique. They boldly brought this form to the stage. Afterwards, they made the “Countryside Song”. “The White-Haired Girl” is development, is progress, and has received the welcome from the people in the entire country. We must make more operas like “The White-Haired Girl”. We must also make Western operas.

III

Literature and art criticism issues shall attract attention. We must encourage criticism and develop criticism, this is one thing; criticism must strive for correctness and appropriateness, this is a second thing; criticism must look at the target, and should be helpful to people, this is a third thing. When responsible comrades watch an opera, not permitting debate won’t do, but if there is pressure on people after debate, how should this be dealt with? If it is just a few loose phrases, it cannot count as criticism, and may be ignored; if it is a formal opinion, then it should be explained clearly. Naturally, organizational decisions must be listened to. Since it is a resolution, it must be obeyed. Otherwise, everyone will be uncertain what to do, debate is sometimes correct, and sometimes not necessarily correct. Laymen putting forward opinions should adopt a consultative attitude, and must not stand above writers. Writers and artist must respect the opinions of the masses, but they are not absolutely required to follow them. Otherwise, this person says something, they revise, that person says something, they again revise, they will revise things beyond recognition, and they will not have individual character anymore.

IV

After-hour writers’ work have emerged in large numbers, this is a good phenomenon, and there will certainly be more of these in the future. After-hours writers have written not a few good works, reflecting reality, because they are well acquainted with life. After-hours writers have great hopes, the Writer’s Union must absolutely value them and foster them, it must adopt a welcoming, helpful and supportive attitude. It must adopt one sort of policy, being: let the participate in work on the one hand, and give the, writing time on the other hand, so that they can leave work to write at some point. This is how to treat accomplished after-hours writers. Professional writers shall also, on the basis of the situation, participate in certain work. Things full of vigour and vitality, cannot necessarily be written by a provincial committee secretary. Professional writers should understand  how a provincial committee leads work, and those meeting conditions should participate in Party meetings, and systematically participate in them from high to low. They must go deeply into life. Some people originally were provincial or district committee secretaries or army cadres, now the are engaged in creation, they must be helped to write more, and they must be given certain honour. Some people are more suitable to become writers, let them become writers, but still require them to fulfil a deputy position and participate in some work, they may absolutely not become removed from life. Leading departments must grasp ideology, and must at the same time give rein to the individual characteristics and styles of writers.

 

Some opinions on our literature and art work

8 March 1956

Liu Shaoqi

I

Whether or not people-run theatre troupes should be changed into government-run, requires research. As it is still uncertain, they will not be changed for the time being. But first, “republican classes” of a cooperative nature are undertaken, to be led by Party and Youth League members and positive elements. We must pay attention to improving internal relations, and implement reform through internal forces. First and foremost, we must use meterial benefits to stimulate their labour, and require the labourers to be concerned about their own labour from their material life. They may not be unconcerned about the results of their labout because they are State-run, as if it is all the same whether the audience likes it or not. Workers are concerned about the results of their work, this is an objective rule of Socialism. State-run theatre troupes shall also pay attention to and be concerned about the results of their own work. Second is dealing with actors, good actors’ wages must be a bit higher, and the wages of the less good ones a but lower. The method of concluding contracts may be used. They have the right to sign contracts, and also have the right to refuse to sign contracts. “Home parties with hired performers” are the method of old society concerning theatrical companies. Now, no more “home parties with hired performers” are organized, because it looks down upon artists.

If a few thousand theatre troupes are State-run, it may do away with enthusiasm. This is not stimulating, but it hinders progress. We should do things in cooperative ways, and having the State run things, is “leftist”. Any affair is the same, without clear superiority, there should be no reform, or reform should at least be slowe. We must let people-run professional theatre troupes be run again for a period. For example, in two our three Five-Year Plans, let them compete with State-run theatre troups, see who’s audiences are the largest, see who is the most able, and obtains the love of the people.

We must appropriately organize individual labour. Some individual labour is of a long term, such as reparations and other trades. Music instrument production can as far as possible be done in cooperatives. Cultural appliance production that can be done in cooperatives is to be done in cooperatives, and that cannot be done is to be done through individual labour. The problem lies in how to organize in a way that is suited to thier characteristics. Concerning scattered entertainers, they can be permitted to register, and given licenses. If we that storytelling with drum accompaniment is also individual labour, we must also let them run everywear, but we must appropriately organize matters, and must adapt to their life situation, for the convenience of their spiritual work. How to organize matters wall may be talked over with them. These organiazations must not always hold meetings, they may hols one or two meetings annually, and the times may also be fixed. When holding meetings, democratic forms are adopted, have fun for a day, have a lively time, everyone is happy. If the members run into difficulties, they can negotiate with relevant sides to help them resolve these; we must also help them in organizing study, listen to reports, wherevery they flow toward, they may always listen to reports. A bit more political and ideological work must be done for them. Literature and art troupes must also help them. They are not suited to centralized life, they must not be coerced into collective life, but we must be a bit more relaxed.

We must pay attention to developing consignment and commission selling. Small book stands (including the rental sector) may adopt consignment selling and commission seelling methods. The consignment selling sector may determine a batch of consignment sellers, and pay commission on the basis of sales. This is in reality paying wages. The commission selling sector has its own capital, and should not eat it, it may have difference between wholesale and retail prices, the price difference is also equivalent to wages. In the countryside, it is permitted to have shoulder pole sellers, they do their round in one month, and may also have fixed customers and fixed circles.

II

Our policy is to let a hundred flowers bloom, get rid of the old to gain the new. But “gaining the new” cannot be coerced, literature and art reform must undergo certain efforts. Wanting to have children without getting pregnant is impossible. Letting a hundred flowers bloom is permitting to matters coexist, and each does is own. For example, foreign and domestic things may all be done.

When performing “Fisherman’s Revenge”, wearing patched clothing is no good. The peole like pretty people and clothing, this must be done too realistically. Drama reform must not be large reform, if it is harmful, it is reformed, is it is not harmful, it is not reformed. Some old dramas have a great educational sense, and must not be reformed wantonly. New literature and art workers going to opera theatres and troupes to conduct theatre reform, must not act impetuous. They must absolutely “settle things when conditions are ripe”, and “channel the water through the channel”. They cannot reform prematurely, or be too excessive in reform, they cannot reform matters too alike. Beijing opera art levels are very hard, this cannot be belittled, and it cannot be wantonly reformed. Getting rid of it is no god. Not adopting policies of support, assistance or development, but adopting belittling, neglecting or suppressing policies are incorrect. If we do not understand Beijing opera, we may use slide projectors to provide subtitles, the language sopken in those times must not be reformed, and be written out as before. Naturally, if the melon is not picked when it is ripe, it will fall down, drama reform is like this, and all sorts of reforms are like this.

Wanting to pick the melon if it is not ripe, is subjectivism. At present, subjectivism, factionalism and eight-legged Party writing all exist. It is suggested that everyone reads Comrade Mao Zedong’s “Yan’an Talks on Literature and Art” another time. Literature and art circles must rectify work styles.

Reflecting modern life cannot be forced. Foreign song and dance are very hard to reflect, even if we can reflect them, there only are a few dramas. We must let local drama each use their strong points, and give rein to their function. We must not believe that they cannot perform modern drama, and not give them regard. The taste of the audience is different, some want to listen to entire dramas, some want to listen to parts. the majority likes dramas with a strong story. Peasants like to listen to successive wagon dramas. Having seen opera highlights and being able to get some rest, make people happy, this is very good. Doing entertainment and rest well, helps us in giving rein to Socialist vigour of people. Watching “Swan Lake” may raise moods. The art level of the “Goddess of Paris” are very high, this also has an educative function.

What is good in ourselves, we must preserve and carry forward, what is good abroad must be absorbed. Films of all countries in the world must all be brought in, including American. One kind is progressive, one sort is harmless. Harmless ones, that can help in understanding situations may also be imported. Harmful ones must not be imported.

 

对于文艺工作的几点意见

(一九五六年三月八日)

 

 

民间职业剧团是否改为国营,需要研究。未定之前,暂时不

改。可先搞合作社性质的“共和班”,通过党团员和积极分子来

领导。要注意改善其内部关系,通过内部力量去改造。首先要用

物质利益去促进他们的劳动,要劳动者从自己物质生活上去关心

自己的劳动。不要因为想搞国营,就不关心劳动成果了,好象观

众喜欢不喜欢都一样。

 

劳动者关心劳动成果,这是社会主义的客观法则。国营剧团

也应当注意关心自己的劳动成果。其次是对待演员,好演员工资

要高些,差一点的,工资可低些。可以采取订立合同的办法。有

权签订合同,也有权拒签合同。“堂会”是旧社会对戏班子的做

法。现在还搞堂会,就是看不起艺术家。

 

几千个剧团都国营,会搞掉积极性。这不是促进,而是促退

。该搞合作社,而搞了国营,这就是“左”。任何事情都一样,

没有明显的优越性,不要去改,至少慢一点改。要让民间职业剧

团再搞它一个时期。比如在两三个五年计划内,让它与国营剧团

竞赛,看谁的观众多,看谁最能得到人民的喜爱。

 

要适当组织个体劳动。有些个体劳动是长期的,如修修补补

等行业。乐器制造尽可能搞些合作社。文化用品生产能搞合作社

的就搞合作社,不行的就个体劳动。问题在于怎样组织才能适应

他们的特点。对于流散艺人,可让他们登记,发给执照。说鼓书

也是个体劳动,要让他们到处跑跑,但要适当组织,要适应他们

的活动情况,便于他们的精神劳动。怎样组织好,可同他们商量

。这些组织不要老开会,可以每年开它一两次会,时间也可固定

。开会时采取民族形式,玩它一天,热闹一番,大家高兴。如会

员碰到困难,就与有关方面交涉,帮助他们解决;还要帮助他们

组织学习,听听报告,流动到哪里,都可以听到报告。

 

对他们多做些政治思想工作。文艺团体也要多帮助他们。

 

他们不适于集中活动,不要强迫他们集体活动,要放松一些

 

要注意发展代销经销业。小书摊(包括租赁业)可采取代销或

经销办法。代销业可确定一批代销员,推销多少给多少手续费。

这实际上是零付工资。经销业有自己的资本,不要把它吃掉,可

以搞批零差价,差价也相当于工资。在农村可搞货郎担,一个月

去打个圈,也可有固定顾主和固定圈子。

 

 

我们的方针是百花齐放,推陈出新。但“出新”不能勉强。

文艺改革必须经过一定的努力。没有怀孕就要生孩子,这是不可

能的。百花齐放,就允许并存,各搞各的。

 

比如洋的土的都可以搞嘛。

 

演《打渔杀家》,穿补钉衣服不好。人民喜欢漂亮的人与衣

服,不要搞得太实了。戏改不要大改,有害则改,无害不改。有

些老戏很有教育意义,不要乱去改。新文艺工作者到戏曲剧团搞

戏改,不要犯急性玻一定要“瓜熟蒂落”,“水到渠成”。不能

过早地改,改得不要过分,不能改得不象了。京剧艺术水平很高

,不能轻视,不能乱改。搞掉了是不行的。不采取支持、帮助、

发展的方针,而采取轻视、忽略、压制的方针,是不对的。京剧

看不懂,可用幻灯打字幕,那个时代讲的话,不要去改,照样写

出来。当然瓜熟不摘,也要掉下来。戏改如此,各种改革都是如

此。

 

瓜不熟,要摘,是主观主义。目前,主观主义、宗派主义、

党八股都有。建议大家再好好读一读毛泽东同志《在延安文艺座

谈会上的讲话》。文艺界要整风。

 

反映现代生活不能勉强。外国歌剧就很难反映,即使能反映

,也只有几个戏。要让地方戏各尽所长,发挥作用。

 

不要以为不能演现代戏的,就不重视。观众口味是不同的,

有的愿听全本戏,有的愿听片断,大部分还是喜欢故事性强的戏

。农民喜欢听连台本戏。看了折子戏,能得到休息,使人高兴,

就很好。搞好娱乐、休息,就有助于人们发挥社会主义积极性。

看《天鹅湖》可以提高兴致。《巴黎圣母院》的艺术水平很高,

也有教育作用。

 

自己好的要保持、发扬,外国好的也都要吸收。世界各国的

电影都要搞进来,包括美国的。一种是进步的,一种是无害的。

无害的,能帮助了解情况的,也可以进口。

 

有害的,不要进口。

 

新歌剧很好。比如《白毛女》,大家都很喜欢,外国人看了

也很感动。我们是否有歌剧历史?有。《葡萄仙子》、《麻雀与小

孩》都是不错的。先前办洋学堂,是学日本,那时歌咏运动中有

些歌,很普及。把这些编成歌剧,是从黎锦晖起。不要轻视黎派

的创作。他们大胆地把这种形式搬到舞台上。后来搞了《农村曲

》。《自毛女》是发展,是进步,受到各国人民欢迎。要多搞《

自毛女》这样的歌剧。西洋歌剧也要搞。

 

 

文艺批评问题,应当引起注意。要鼓励批评,发展批评,这

是一;批评力求正确、适当,这是二;批评要看对象,应对人有

所帮助,这是三。负责同志看戏,不许议论不行,议论了对人又

有压力,怎么办?若是随便讲几句,不能算批评,可以不听;如果

是正式意见,那就讲清楚。

 

当然组织决议还是要听的。既然是决议案,那就要服从。

 

不这样,大家就无所适从。议论有时是正确的,有时不一定

正确。外行提意见应采取商量的态度,不要站在作家之上。作家

、艺术家要尊重群众的意见,但不是非听不可。

 

否则这人说一句,改一下,那人说一句,又改一下,就会改

得不成样子,也就没有个性了。

 

 

业余作家的作品大量出现,这是好现象,将来一定会更多。

业余作家写出不少好的、反映现实的作品,因为他们熟悉生活。

业余作家是大有希望的,作家协会一定要看重他们,培养他们,

要采取欢迎、帮助、支持的态度。要采取一种政策,即:一方面

让他们参加工作,一方面给他们写作时间,一个时候还可以离职

写作。这是对待有成就的业余作家。职业作家也应当根据情况参

加一定的工作。

 

生龙活虎的东西,省委书记不一定能写出来。职业作家应了

解省委是怎样领导工作的,有条件的应参加党的会议,从上到下

有系统地参加。要深入生活。有的人原来是盛地委书记或部队干

部,现在从事创作,要帮助他们多写,并给他们一定的荣誉。有

的人当作家更适当,就让他们当作家,但仍须兼任一个副职,参

加一些工作,千万不要脱离生活。领导部门要抓思想,同时要注

意发挥作家的个性特点和风格。

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