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Full Access Ren, Geren and Renmin: The Prehistory of the New Man and Guo Moruo's Conception of “the People”

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Ren, Geren and Renmin: The Prehistory of the New Man and Guo Moruo's Conception of “the People”

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This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing debate about the “socialist New Man” in modern Chinese literature. Focusing on the ideas of humanity, individuality and the people, it attempts to show the prehistory of the “New Man,” i.e., the emergence of the concept-figure of “the people” out of the discourse of humanity. The making of a new historical subjectivity of “the people” was part and parcel of the singular historical experience of the Chinese Revolution and the precondition for its social experiments. Yet this issue receives insufficient critical attention. This paper gives an outline of this idea's genealogy, by concentrating on Guo Moruo's literary-intellectual trajectory. It will show how the enlightenment project and romantic historical imagination paved the way for the concept of the people, and how the new subjectivity of the people prepared for the ideal of the new man.


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