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

By Kang Liu

Although chinese language Marxism—primarily represented by way of Maoism—is ordinarily noticeable through Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and initiatives are as diversified as these in Western Marxism, really within the quarter of aesthetics. during this comparative research of eu and chinese language Marxist traditions, Liu finds the level to which chinese language Marxists contain rules approximately aesthetics and tradition of their theories and practices. In doing so, he constructs a totally new figuring out of chinese language Marxism. faraway from being secondary issues in chinese language Marxism, aesthetics and tradition are actually important issues. during this recognize, such Marxists are just like their Western opposite numbers, even supposing Europeans have had little figuring out of the chinese language adventure. Liu lines the family tree of aesthetic discourse in either glossy China and the West because the period of classical German idea, exhibiting the place conceptual variations 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 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 regarding the issues of modernity. Forcefully argued and theoretically refined, this ebook will entice scholars and students of latest Marxism, cultural reviews, aesthetics, and sleek chinese language tradition, politics, and beliefs.

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Additional info for Aesthetics and Marxism: Chinese Aesthetic Marxists and Their Western Contemporaries

Sample text

He claimed that ‘‘the animus of Mr. ’’48 Wang critiqued Confucian utilitarianism from the same angle. He contended that most Chinese philosophers were only concerned with moral and political philosophies as means to societal change, without emphasizing a metaphysical basis, which should be an end in itself. Moreover, in Chinese tradition, fine art has never had an independent value of its own. Hence, in order to have truly independent intellectual inquiry, scholarship and fine art must be pursued as ends in themselves, rather than means to other political and social objectives.

The only exception in China would be an artistic innovation that directly benefits the moral good or social well-being. Since Western modernism made neither of these claims, it did not easily take root in China, especially since Chinese writers and artists alike were preoccupied, as most Chinese intellectuals were, with the compelling social problems that threatened to tear the nation apart. Western romanticism and realism, by contrast, had all the social and moral appeals that the Chinese needed, and thus, were eagerly embraced.

Politically speaking, Wang was a staunch conservative. Many years after the Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the 1911 Republican Revolution, he remained till his death a loyalist to the dethroned emperor. In 1927, at the age of fifty-one, Wang drowned himself in the Lake of Summer Palace in Beijing. His suicide in the prime of life was largely a symbolic gesture, leaving a major enigma in modern Chinese intellectual history. Wang has been denigrated ever since, by liberal reformists and radical revolutionaries alike, as a recalcitrant cultural and political reactionary.

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