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

By Kang Liu

Even if chinese language Marxism—primarily represented by means of Maoism—is mostly noticeable through Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and tasks are as diversified as these in Western Marxism, rather within the region of aesthetics. during this comparative research of ecu and chinese language Marxist traditions, Liu unearths the level to which chinese language Marxists comprise principles approximately aesthetics and tradition of their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a unconditionally new knowing of chinese language Marxism.Far from being secondary issues in chinese language Marxism, aesthetics and tradition are in truth primary matters. during this admire, such Marxists are just like their Western opposite numbers, even supposing Europeans have had little figuring out 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 inspiration, displaying the place conceptual adjustments 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 range of Marxist positions inside of China in addition to within the West, Liu explains how principles of tradition and aesthetics have provided a confident imaginative and prescient for a postrevolutionary society and feature affected a large box of matters concerning the issues of modernity.Forcefully argued and theoretically subtle, this publication will entice scholars and students of latest Marxism, cultural reviews, aesthetics, and glossy chinese language tradition, politics, and beliefs.

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

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In the end, until his death in Taiwan, Hu was a willing collaborator with Chiang Kai-shek’s regime. ’’56 By contrast, Cai’s project of institutional reforms and cosmopolitan cultural revolution retained an enduring legacy in China, even after the establishment of the People’s Republic. The appeal lies in the incipient modern civil society or public sphere that Cai’s educational reform embodies. Urban, cosmopolitan Marxist intellectuals such as Lu Xun and his disciple Hu Feng, among others, had seen the critical need to construct and maintain a semiautonomous space or public sphere under a revolutionary hegemony.

Still, perhaps inadvertently, Wang pointed to a cultural realm that can only be defined as imaginary, existing in a poetic world that intermingled human emotions and natural surroundings. This was fully spelled out in the imaginary world of his tour de force on Chinese aesthetics and poetics, Renjian cihua (Remarks on lyrics in the world of men). This ‘‘poetic world’’ or jingjie—merging and dissolving at once the boundaries between emotion and scene, mind and matter, self and thing, subject and object53— became an ideal state of artistic creation, echoed and studied over and over again by Chinese artists and critics alike.

Wang’s confidence in the power of aesthetics was no less passionate than Nietzsche’s, but it was tinged with a Schopenhauerian selfdestructive or suicidal pessimism. Schopenhauer argued that the destructiveness of humankind, which in a Baudelairean sense means the fleeting and contingent aspects of modernity, stems from desire itself. Desire in Schopenhauer’s opinion is a paradoxical, self-annihilating entity, a burlesque travesty or shoddy mirror image of the Kantian aesthetic. It is the other side of modernity, the eternal and immutable, but only in the sense of an absolute Buddhist quiescence that demolishes subjectivity at one stroke.

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