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

By Kang Liu

Even though chinese language Marxism—primarily represented by way of Maoism—is normally visible through Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and initiatives are as assorted as these in Western Marxism, really within the quarter of aesthetics. during this comparative examine of eu and chinese language Marxist traditions, Liu unearths the level to which chinese language Marxists contain rules approximately aesthetics and tradition of their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a unconditionally new realizing of chinese language Marxism.Far from being secondary issues in chinese language Marxism, aesthetics and tradition are actually imperative matters. during this recognize, such Marxists are just like their Western opposite numbers, even if Europeans have had little realizing of the chinese language adventure. Liu strains the family tree of aesthetic discourse in either glossy China and the West because the period of classical German suggestion, exhibiting the place conceptual transformations 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 optimistic 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 refined, this ebook will entice scholars and students of latest Marxism, cultural reviews, aesthetics, and smooth chinese language tradition, politics, and beliefs.

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Liang wavered between conflicts between polity and morality, civility and nationhood, in his struggles to create a modern subjectivity or ‘‘New Citizenry’’ as an aesthetic and moral being. But his protomodernist orientation of the autonomy and separation of the arts, when pushed to an extreme by a thinker like Wang Guowei, turned out to be self-destructive. ’’ Autonomy or Self-Destruction: The Modernist Aesthetics of Wang Guowei Wang Guowei was no social reformist like Liang Qichao. He was primarily a literary scholar, who dedicated himself to the aesthetic ideal of free individuality, autonomy, and separation.

67 Indeed, the pro-Western liberalists were not without their serious problems. A major flaw was their disregard of the intense class conflict in China’s process of modernity, significantly enfeebling the liberalist cultural politics, and often exasperating the political stand of liberalists like Hu. Aligning with the right-wing Chiang Kai-shek regime after the 1927 split between the Guomindang and ccp, liberalists were caught in a moral dilemma: they had to endorse the oppressive and protofascist cultural policies of the Guomindang regime, against their own conscience.

Wang’s radical aesthetic modernism can be seen in two aspects of his thought. First, Wang shared with Nietzsche and Schopenhauer a strong sense of modernity as nothing more than a vital energy or desire, the will to life (and death) and power, in a universe of anarchy, alienation, disorder, and despair. ’’ 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.

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