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

By Kang Liu

Even though chinese language Marxism—primarily represented by means of Maoism—is ordinarily noticeable by way of Western intellectuals as monolithic, Liu Kang argues that its practices and initiatives are as different as these in Western Marxism, really within the sector of aesthetics. during this comparative examine of eu and chinese language Marxist traditions, Liu unearths the level to which chinese language Marxists contain principles 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 concerns in chinese language Marxism, aesthetics and tradition are actually critical 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 lines the family tree of aesthetic discourse in either glossy China and the West because the period of classical German suggestion, exhibiting the place conceptual changes 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 rules of tradition and aesthetics have provided a optimistic imaginative and prescient for a postrevolutionary society and feature affected a large box of concerns related to the issues of modernity.Forcefully argued and theoretically refined, this e-book will attract scholars and students of up to date Marxism, cultural reports, aesthetics, and sleek 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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Liang’s view of the political function of the aesthetic, conveyed by his exuberant assignment of writing fiction to the messianic mission of changing China, is utopian. His claims had no substantive historical evidence to back them up, nor did he envision any concrete, practical steps to implement change through writing stories and novels—an objective hardly tenable and achievable, given China’s immense social, political, and economic crises at the time. On the other hand, the grand social and political mission accorded by Liang to fiction revealed a utilitarian strain of thought as well.

Cai’s enlightenment aesthetic project, though not a Marxist formation, highlights the intrinsic contradiction between an urban, cosmopolitan vision of modernity and a rural, agrarian, nativist orientation. Cai’s aesthetic concept is twofold. First, the aesthetic was conceived as a preeminent discourse of enlightenment and cultural revolution, against China’s stagnant tradition; second, it provided a humanistic and utopian dimension to Chinese modernity, influenced primarily by Western scientific reason.

Invoking the Kantian dictum of ‘‘purposiveness without a purpose,’’ Wang expounded the relativity of both useful and useless aspects of scholarship. ’’49 Autonomy, or independence of scholarship, especially in metaphysics and aesthetics, is in Wang’s opinion firmly grounded in the pursuit of truth. Truth in Wang’s vocabulary obviously has little to do with scientific knowledge. Instead, it refers to a kind of intuitive revelation about the essence of life, embodied by Schopenhauerian and Taoist-Buddhist aesthetics.

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