During his tenure in the Lu Xun Academy in Yan'an, the center of the Chinese Revolution, the novelist Zhou Libo ran a seminar on world literature. While teaching masterpieces of European novelists, Zhou developed a theory of the novel that inherited themes of liberal humanism and appropriated them for a burgeoning revolutionary culture. In his teaching notes, Zhou upholds the people as the transformative engine for social progress: they are authors of their own culture, the political subjects of popular democracy, and in solidarity with the working classes of the world. This essay considers Zhou's fiction theory as a part of the transition from the old democratic revolution led by the Chinese bourgeoisie to the new democratic cultural initiative carried out by the enlightened intelligentsia and progressive working people.

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