By Richard Wolin
Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Julia Kristeva, Phillipe Sollers, and Jean-Luc Godard. in the course of the Nineteen Sixties, a who is who of French thinkers, writers, and artists, spurred by means of China's Cultural Revolution, have been seized with a fascination for Maoism. Combining a cruel exposé of left-wing political folly and cross-cultural false impression with a lively safety of the Nineteen Sixties, The Wind from the East tells the colourful tale of this mythical interval in France. Richard Wolin exhibits how French scholars and intellectuals, encouraged through their perceptions of the Cultural Revolution, and stimulated by way of utopian hopes, incited grassroots social activities and reinvigorated French civic and cultural life.
Wolin's riveting narrative unearths that Maoism's attract between France's top and brightest really had little to do with a true realizing of chinese language politics. in its place, it mockingly served as a motor vehicle for an emancipatory transformation of French society. French scholar leftists took up the trope of "cultural revolution," utilizing it to their criticisms of daily life. Wolin examines how Maoism captured the imaginations of France's best cultural figures, influencing Sartre's "perfect Maoist moment"; Foucault's belief of strength; Sollers's stylish, leftist highbrow magazine Tel Quel; in addition to Kristeva's booklet on chinese language women--which incorporated a lively safety of foot-binding.
Recounting the cultural and political odyssey of French scholars and intellectuals within the Nineteen Sixties, The Wind from the East illustrates how the Maoist phenomenon all of sudden sparked a democratic political sea swap in France.
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Extra info for The wind from the east : French intellectuals, the cultural revolution, and the legacy of the 1960s
The UNEF also sponsored numerous teach-ins to heighten student awareness about the conflict, a practice it would revive at the height of the Vietnam War protests. In retrospect, the UNEF’s political acumen far surpassed that of the established Left—Communists, Socialists, and Radicals—whose representatives pursued a more measured and cautious approach. The David Schalk, War and the Ivory Tower: Algeria and Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 61. 4 During the 1960s French society continued to modernize at an unprecedented pace.
Throughout its life, the Fourth Republic had been plagued by interminable parliamentary jockeying. The Communists, who, by virtue of their prestige as résistants, were one of the Fourth Republic’s leading parties, delighted in playing the role of “spoiler,” seizing every available opportunity to undermine prospects for political consensus. But it was the Algerian War and the May 1958 military putsch that proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. No one believed that the republic’s familiar cast of well-meaning political mediocrities could resolve the crisis.
Yet, a good part of Maoism’s attraction had less to do with strictly doctrinal matters than with the aesthetics of political militancy. ” In France, disillusionment with the Soviet Union and with the French Communist Party (PCF) caused Maoism’s stock to rise. The PCF had a heroic political past as resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation. In France’s first nationwide elections following the Liberation, the Communists were the leading vote-getters. The PCF enjoyed a comfortable niche in the French political system, habitually accruing some 20 percent of the vote.
The wind from the east : French intellectuals, the cultural revolution, and the legacy of the 1960s by Richard Wolin