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The Three Prominences

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Chapter Summary

The political-aesthetic principle of the "three prominences" was the formula foremost in governing proletarian literature and art during the Cultural Revolution. The principle of three prominances was supposed to be applicable to all the Model Plays and thus give guidance for the creation of future proletarian artworks. The author genealogical study, however, suggests a red thread and argues for continuity rather than rupture between the May Fourth enlightenment discourse and Maoist revolutionary discourse. The first contradiction lies in the at once realist and idealized representation of the main heroic character. The second contradiction arises between the politically controllable symbolic meanings and the uncontrollable textual dynamism. The "three prominences" aims to ensure a single voice over various symbols in CR literature and art. The genealogical study in this chapter addresses the first contradiction; then the narrative accounts in the foreground the second contradiction.

Keywords: genealogical study; political-aesthetic principle; textual dynamism; three prominences



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