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Contemporary Chinese Aesthetics

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Edited By Zhu Liyuan and Gene Blocker

This book is a collection of translations of recent work by contemporary Chinese aestheticians. Because of the relative isolation of China until recently, little is known of this rich and ongoing aesthetics tradition in China. Although some of the articles are concerned with the traditional ancient Chinese theories of art and beauty, many are inspired by Western aesthetics, including Marxism, and all are involved in cross-cultural comparisons of Chinese and Western aesthetic traditions.

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The Essence of Aesthetics: Chen Wangheng 335

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The Essence of Aesthetics Chen Wangheng Marx brought to light the internal laws of capitalist society, starting with the analysis of commodity as its essence. It is possible for us to bring to light the enigma of the beautiful in art by fmding and analyzing the essential aesthetics component in art? I should say it is defmitely possible. What is the aesthetic essence of art, then? In my opinion, it is "the form of emotion." At present many scholars agree that emotion is the nature of art. But a thorough investigation shows that even those who adhere to the above theory hold different viewpoints. Some adhere to the theory of emotional-stimulation, holding that the nature of art is the stimulation of its admirers' emotion; others adhere to the theory of emotional-re-expression, holding that the nature of art is the re-expression of an object's emotion; still others adhere to the theory of emotional-expression, holding that the nature of art is the expression of the writer's or the artist's emotion. Personally, I am on the side of the last school of thought. The expression of the writer's or the artist's emotion, I hold, not of the some other's emotion, is the essential difference between artistic and scientific activity. Scientists never cast their personal, subjective emotion into their research project so as to contribute an essential emotional factor in the fmal outcome. Artistic reflection, on the other hand, is very different from that. Emotion is not only the starting point and motive, but...

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