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Aesthetics and Marxism: Chinese Aesthetic Marxists and Their by Kang Liu

By Kang Liu

Even supposing chinese language Marxism—primarily represented by means of Maoism—is mostly noticeable via Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and tasks are as different as these in Western Marxism, rather within the region of aesthetics. during this comparative examine of eu and chinese language Marxist traditions, Liu unearths the level to which chinese language Marxists comprise rules approximately aesthetics and tradition of their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a totally new figuring out of chinese language Marxism.Far from being secondary issues in chinese language Marxism, aesthetics and tradition are in reality crucial matters. during this recognize, such Marxists are just like their Western opposite numbers, even if Europeans have had little realizing of the chinese language event. Liu lines the family tree of aesthetic discourse in either glossy China and the West because the period of classical German concept, displaying the place conceptual differences and divergences have happened within the traditions. He examines the paintings of Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Li Zehou, Qu Qiubai, and others in China, and from the West he discusses Kant, Schiller, Schopenhauer, and Marxist theorists together with Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse. whereas stressing the variety of Marxist positions inside of China in addition to within the West, Liu explains how principles of tradition and aesthetics have provided a positive imaginative and prescient for a postrevolutionary society and feature affected a large box of matters related to the issues of modernity.Forcefully argued and theoretically subtle, this ebook will attract scholars and students of latest Marxism, cultural reviews, aesthetics, and smooth chinese language tradition, politics, and beliefs.

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Extra info for Aesthetics and Marxism: Chinese Aesthetic Marxists and Their Western Contemporaries (Post-Contemporary Interventions)

Sample text

Cai was primarily a liberal democrat, among the predominantly right-wing associates of Chiang Kai-shek’s dictatorial regime. Unlike his friends in the May Fourth movement—such as Chen Duxiu, Lu Xun, and Qu Qiubai, who turned to Marxism and communism—Cai remained committed to changes in education and other societal sectors in urban areas. His politics differed as well from another prominent May Fourth intellectual, Hu Shi, who succeeded Cai in almost all official posts. As a liberalist, Hu was greatly favored over Cai by the Guomindang regime because he remained a conformist to Chiang Kai-shek’s policies; and unlike Cai, who never openly condemned the Communists, Hu was often a mouthpiece for Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-Communist campaigns.

But the role of art was largely misunderstood by modernists, who transmuted art into an organic, self-referential construct. It was valorized as an ontological being, as a pure innovation of the imagination of the individual artist, divorced from social and historical contexts. By so doing, the modernist artifact—or the ‘‘well-wrought urn,’’ to borrow John Keats’s celebrated metaphor—became locked up in an aporia, turning itself into a reified and alienated object in the very moment of its own creation.

In a 1923 speech delivered in Belgium, ‘‘On China’s Renaissance,’’ Cai identified the key characteristics of Chinese culture that he considered congruent with and amenable to the ideal of humanity: populism, universalism, pacifism, egalitarianism, and tolerance of different religions. 61 The ‘‘transcendental’’ aspect, on the other hand, was perceived by Cai as that which pertains to the central problem of modernity. The ultimate goal of humanity, Cai maintained, was to transcend the phenomenal world, to attain harmony with the universal will of the noumenal world.

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