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The Totality of Critique: A Total Analysis of The Life of Wu Xun

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Abstract:

On May 20, 1951, an anonymous critique of The Life of Wu Xun (Wu Xun Zhuan, dir. Sun Yu, 1950) by Mao Zedong sparked the first nationwide criticism in literature and arts in the People’s Republic of China. The inquiry of this essay starts with a fundamental question: why did Mao Zedong mobilize a campaign against The Life of Wu Xun, a film about a recognized folk hero who devoted his whole life and wealth to the cause of free education, especially when the filmmakers had tried to shape the hero to conform to the thought of the newly founded regime? This essay attempts to answer these questions through three channels. First, revisiting the historical assessment of Wu Xun from the late Qing dynasty to the republican era shows the values Wu Xun embodies and is made to embody in the process of his apotheosis. Second, an analysis of the film demonstrates the extent to which The Life of Wu Xun conforms to and deviates from ideological thought in the new China. Third, a survey of the massive criticism of the film and a series of corrective efforts reveals that this campaign heralded the totality of critique, which culminated in the Cultural Revolution: the one and only one mode in criticism, not allowing for any alternative opinion. As a dominant discourse, it is suppressive, overpowering, and homogenizing. It modifies any heterogeneous element to conform it to the only one legitimate mode of thinking.
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Association:
Name: Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference
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http://www.asian-studies.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1188985_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Zhang, Enhua. "The Totality of Critique: A Total Analysis of The Life of Wu Xun" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada, <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1188985_index.html>

APA Citation:

Zhang, E. "The Totality of Critique: A Total Analysis of The Life of Wu Xun" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies - Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Canada <Not Available>. 2017-07-22 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1188985_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: On May 20, 1951, an anonymous critique of The Life of Wu Xun (Wu Xun Zhuan, dir. Sun Yu, 1950) by Mao Zedong sparked the first nationwide criticism in literature and arts in the People’s Republic of China. The inquiry of this essay starts with a fundamental question: why did Mao Zedong mobilize a campaign against The Life of Wu Xun, a film about a recognized folk hero who devoted his whole life and wealth to the cause of free education, especially when the filmmakers had tried to shape the hero to conform to the thought of the newly founded regime? This essay attempts to answer these questions through three channels. First, revisiting the historical assessment of Wu Xun from the late Qing dynasty to the republican era shows the values Wu Xun embodies and is made to embody in the process of his apotheosis. Second, an analysis of the film demonstrates the extent to which The Life of Wu Xun conforms to and deviates from ideological thought in the new China. Third, a survey of the massive criticism of the film and a series of corrective efforts reveals that this campaign heralded the totality of critique, which culminated in the Cultural Revolution: the one and only one mode in criticism, not allowing for any alternative opinion. As a dominant discourse, it is suppressive, overpowering, and homogenizing. It modifies any heterogeneous element to conform it to the only one legitimate mode of thinking.


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