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Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Volume 2 Engels: Engels, v. 2 (Volume 2). Karl Marx. Published by Lawrence.
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- Marx & Engels Collected Works Volume 2: Frederick Engels 1838-42
Shanghai: Shanghai Theater Academy. Liu, Fan. Lu, Hai. Mao, Zedong. Volume 3.
Edited by Beijing shifan daxue zhongwenxi xiandai wenxue jiaoxue gaige xiaozu [Reform committee on the teaching of modern literature, Department of Chinese Literature, Beijing Normal University]. Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe. Mao Zedong xuanji [Selected works of Mao Zedong]. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe. Marx, Eleanor. Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels.
Translated by R.
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Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of Translated by Martin Milligan. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. Meng, Xianqiang. Zhongguo shaxue jianshi [A concise history of Shakespeare studies in China]. Chengchun: Dongbei shifan daxue chubanshe. Morozov, Mikhail M. Shakespeare on the Soviet Stage.
Translated by David Magarshack. London: Soviet News. Shashibiya zhuan [Shakespeare's life].
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Translated by Xu Haiyan and Wu Junzhong. Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tucker, Robert C. The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: W. Shashibiya quanji Complete works of Shakespeare. Editorial Committee. Volume 1. Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe. Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. In The Riverside Shakespeare. Stanislavsky, Konstantin. Stanislavski Produces Othello. Translated by Helen Nowak. New York: Theatre Arts Books. Stanislavski, Constantin. An Actor Prepares. Translated by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood. Spence, Jonathan.
In Search of Modern China. Sun, Yu.
Tung, Constantine. Edited by Constantine Tung and Colin Mackerras. Wang, Qibang. Wu, Ningkun, trans. Shashibiya zai Sulian [Shakespeare in the Soviet Union]. Jindai wenxue yicong [Series on translations of modern literature]. Shanghai: Pingming chubanshe. Wushi shengfei: si mu xiju , [ Much Ado About Nothing : a four-act comedy]. Wushi shengfei [ Much Ado About Nothing ]. Stage Bill. Zhu, Xijuan. Shakespeare in Asia [cited 29 January, ]. Online database that provides researchers, instructors and students of Shakespeare free access to visual and textual materials on Shakespearean performances and adaptations in Asia.
Shanghai Theatre Academy English [cited 29 January, ]. Shanghai Theatre Academy Chinese [cited 29 January, ]. Personal Website for Alexander Huang [cited 29 January, ]. In the diasporic transfer of "Shakespeare," Shakespeare's texts have been transmitted from the early modern to the modern age, and from Elizabethan England to Marx's Germany to the Soviet Union, and from there to Maoist China, among many other cultural locations.
As Dennis Kennedy observes, " Almost from the start of [Shakespeare's] importance as the idealized English dramatist there have been other Shakespeares" Kennedy , 2. In an Asian context, the most dramatic transformations and urgent transmissions of the Shakespearean valence both positive and negative have occurred during revolutions. Its unusual claims for the apolitical nature of its representation of Much Ado and its historically conditioned motives invite speculation about the roles of history and memory in cross-cultural appropriation.
Questions about the politicization of artistic works, historical accuracy and authenticity, as well as ideological authority, revolve around the idea of appropriation as a venue where the present is seen in the art of the past and vice versa. Therefore, revisiting the politics of various claims about the political capital of appropriation or lack thereof would be a useful way to re-enter the debate between historicism and presentism, as both critical approaches and appropriative strategies.
Walter Benjamin famously defined the work of art as possessing a unique " presence in time and space" and an "existence at the place where it happens to be" Benjamin , Drama's unique presence in time and space would include its presence in textual forms and stage representations. Further, any performance would have to wrestle with three distinct times and spaces: those of the current stage performance; those of the fabula or story; and the time when and space where the drama was written.
Tensions and relationships among these entities inform most appropriative strategies. Presentism, a critical operation that brings contemporary events to bear on pre-modern works, privileges the extended presence in time and space of artistic works and foregrounds the historicity of contemporary readers and critics. On the other hand, rewritings of canonical texts — a phenomenon that has existed for centuries — are often met with skeptical eyes and historically conscious criticism, because these performances are perceived to be evading the historical specificity of the texts they seek to represent.
We should, however, acknowledge and confront the situatedness of the practice of literary interpretation and of the reader's localities and temporalities. The urge to privilege the present is a response to the urge to restore literary works to their earliest historical circumstances. As opposed to reading Shakespeare historically according to an exclusive set of knowable "facts," presentism is invested in the validity and value of contemporary critical responses.
It also brings to light the intricate relationship between history and epistemology, past and present, and text and performance. History can never be reduced to a series of "facts," preserved in a pristine state, as it were. Similarly, texts do not and cannot mean by themselves. As Terence Hawkes points out, texts have to be represented and connected: " We mean by the texts we choose" Hawkes , 3.
The Soviet-Chinese Much Ado About Nothing espouses some of the corollaries of, but at the same time transcends, the presentism vs. The creation and reception of this supposedly apolitical Shakespeare are fraught with complications, because at work are the politics of "apoliticization" in the advent of Maoism, as it is filtered through Lipkovskaya's theatrical philosophy. How can a performance and its carbon copy, re-run more than a decade later, be the site of collective memory about the revolution and, at the same time, be said to deny the presence of any ideology? Part of the answer, for this particular production of Much Ado , lies in the play's supposed capacity to evoke an imagined Shakespearean history that is distant enough to lose its immediacy for the Chinese censors, which in turn creates a politically safe performance text for the actors and audiences.
The Much Ado manufactured desirable histories and memories. As such, the trajectory of this particular adaptation over time contradicts the present understanding of historicist and presentist approaches to reading premodern texts. Under the historical circumstances of Soviet-Marxist-Maoism in the mid twentieth century, China witnessed a Soviet-Chinese joint venture to appropriate Much Ado About Nothing for both practical and aesthetic purposes: to familiarize Chinese actors with the Stanislavskian method; to offer the Chinese audience a glimpse into what was perceived to be authentic theatrical realism and authentic Shakespeare; and, finally, to provide "apolitical" entertainment in a time when ideologies shifted as frequently as policies changed.
First directed by Yevgeniya Konstantinovna Lipkovskaya, a Soviet director recruited by the Chinese Communist government, Much Ado was staged in Shanghai in , with scenes cut and rearranged. Don John's role was marginalized. In the absence of Lipkovskaya, the production of Much Ado was revived in by the same cast as an equally well-attended carbon-copy production, and, once again in , after the Cultural Revolution This production and its revivals were perceived to be apolitical and non-topical, and hence safe in revolutionary times.
At the same time, the adaptation became a locus for nostalgic feelings, motivated by the positive valence conferred by the actors and audiences on absolute fidelity to the histories of Much Ado. This fidelity is two-fold. The actors and their audiences from the pre- and post-Cultural Revolution generations believed that this Much Ado was loyal to the "historical" Italy, as recorded by Shakespeare, and also to the earlier, paradigmatic production from On the one hand, this adaptation historicized Much Ado by resorting to realist representations with prosthetic noses, Italian wigs, and Stanislavskian psychological realism.
On the other hand, because of the fear of political prosecution, every effort was made to avoid the slightest hint of any use of history to inform the present. The directors and actors understood "history" in very particular ways — namely, as an imagined Shakespearean authenticity, the world that Shakespeare conjures up in his plays, and also as the specific history of the Chinese Much Ado.
Yet despite its reputation as being "apolitical," this production also claimed to present the "bright aspect" of Chinese society under Communist reform, a Maoist requirement for arts and literature. Under unusual historical circumstances, an extreme version of historicism collided with the allegorical mode of presentist reading.
Seeking to bridge the continuing divisions between textual scholarship and performance studies King , 7 , Ros King, professional dramaturg and textual editor, recently has argued that to solve the problems associated with realizing Shakespeare's year-old texts in relevant modern performances, it is " not enough to read Shakespeare historically, " as demanded by Lisa Jardine or David Scott Kastan Kastan ; King , One needs to analyze " with an eye and an ear to how the language functions " and to how other signs function on stage King , A dramaturgical analysis of the Chinese Much Ado will illustrate how the Chinese Much Ado contradicts both presentist and historicist modes of reading, suggesting the need for a more holistic analysis.
The s saw a significant number of "Soviet experts" from all fields, recruited by the Chinese government to transfer their knowledge to the Chinese. Under extremely unusual historical circumstances before and after the Cultural Revolution , the Chinese and Soviet artists worked closely with each other and created Shakespearean productions that made a difference.
In many cases, the difference marked the line between life and death. The production gave the artists a l'art pour l'art cause and a rare opportunity to concentrate on acting and not politics. It also saved most of its cast from being prosecuted. The political implications of repositioning certain dramatic works are often inseparable from the broader concerns of the world at large.
One of China's most beloved and influential Soviet directors was Yevgeniya Konstantinovna Lipkovskaya , an experienced acting teacher from the A. Ostrovsky Drama Institute in Leningrad. In the history of twentieth-century China, the most brutal force to reshape the landscape of culture and theater was the ten-year Cultural Revolution that, ironically, had more to do with destroying rather than with revolutionizing performance culture; yet this is also the most productive and intriguing period for Shakespearean performance in East Asia.
Launched in , the Cultural Revolution attacked bourgeois remnants, bureaucracy, vested interests, and, above all, "foreignness" and antiquity. Both foreignness and antiquity are evident in the production; see, for instance, figure 1. Figure 1. Much Ado About Nothing, dir. Hu Dao, trans. This is a carbon-copy revival of the production directed by Yevgeniya K. Lipkovskaya and of the revival. In this peasant-centered culture, there was no place for Shakespeare or any non-Chinese playwright. Shakespeare's perceived moral preoccupations such as an anti-feudalist tendency and humanism are ironically not those of the Chinese Communist revolutionaries.
The only plays performed on stage during the Cultural Revolution were eight state-endorsed model plays [ yangban xi ] that uniformly portrayed an imaginary bright future of China under the leadership of the Communist Party. It is of interest to note that the power struggle and mass campaigns during this period were masked by ideological debates about the functions and values of literature and art, especially theater cf.
Tung , As Martin Esslin cogently argues, all drama is " a political event " because it either asserts or undermines the codes of conduct of a given society Esslin , As such, live theater — a public forum and event — is often seen as an avenue of cross-cultural negotiation and political intervention. The Chinese Communists have capitalized on the propagandistic, pedagogic, and political capital of theater. Four years after a Western-style spoken-drama huaju production of Much Ado About Nothing in , which was translated into Chinese as Looking for Trouble in Trivial Matters [ Wushi shengfei ] during its premiere in Shanghai, a group of Chinese actors revived the earlier production on a summer night in Shenyang in without changing even the smallest detail.
As the curtain rose, the audience saw a half-height wall set in a recreated medieval Italian city: Messina figure 2. Figure 2. Stage Design, Leonato's House. Hu Dao and Wu Li, trans. Zhu Shenghao.
A group of victorious warriors returning on horses from a battle appeared behind the wall, so that the audience saw the upper halves of their bodies as they rode past the stage behind the wall. The actors wore period doublet-and-hose costumes with prosthetic noses, blue eyelids representing blue eyes , and wigs that imitated Caucasian hair color and styles.
Thus opened the play, which critics described as " magnificent," realistic," and "grand" Sun ; see figure 3.
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Figure 3. A Statue of Cupid in Leonato's garden. This is a carbon-copy revival of the production driected by Yevgeniya K. In April , eighteen years later and three years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, the same director and cast staged in Shanghai yet another carbon copy of the earlier production. Most of the original cast managed to stay in or return to Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution to reunite and stage this Much Ado , in part because their involvement in the state-approved, pre-revolution production of had shielded them from political persecution.
In an interview, Hu Dao, 4 the director of the re-run, proudly commented on two identical photos that he possessed from the and the performances Interviews with Ruru Li, September and January , quoted in Li , In these two photos, the actress playing Beatrice and the actor playing Benedick — the same individuals in and — were in identical costumes and identical poses in the same scene, which corresponds to 5.
The performance preserved every single detail of its predecessor figures 4 and 5. Each servant entered with her or his distinct step and pace, carrying wine barrels, a roast goose on a huge plate, and other dishes. Their action provided the backdrop of hustle and bustle for the scene that corresponded to Much Ado About Nothing , 1. Leonato and Antonio carried on their conversation as the servants went on and off the stage.
The servants crossed the stage with mouth-watering dishes in preparation for the feast. However, the feast was not shown. After a while, the servants returned to the stage with empty oval platters, signifying that the party was over Liu The stage soon returned to its previous state: empty and quiet.
Then, the inner curtain drew again to reveal Don John sitting in a chair, plotting with Conrade and Borachio against Claudio and Hero. The lighting for the conspiracy scene changed to a cold tone, and the lively music immediately changed into a grave tune.
Marx & Engels Collected Works Volume 2: Frederick Engels 1838-42
The swift and smooth scene changes afforded by the double curtains impressed the critics and audience in the original production and subsequent re-runs that toured different Chinese cities. Cao Shujun and Sun Fuliang noted enthusiastically how the two curtains opened slowly with percussion beats, creating the illusion of a wide-open stage Cao and Sun , Lu Hai was impressed by the verisimilitude of the "medieval castle" on stage Lu ; Sun Yu lauded the production's achievement of "realism" and the power of the grand setting Sun However, there was much more to this production and its re-runs than the "magnificent" stage set, realism, and double curtains.
It reflected a new "Chinese Shakespeare" produced in a Sino-Soviet workshop of realism and Stanislavskianism. We found this statement to be true after having seen Lipkovskaya's Much Ado " Dong The transplantation of Shakespeare from his "real home" in the USSR to New China [ xin Zhongguo , a term deployed by the Chinese Communist Party to describe the new socialist state founded in ] was a complicated process.
One of the most intriguing questions was why certain plays were chosen and others were not. Other than The Merchant of Venice , very few Shakespearean comedies were staged in China before the s. The Much Ado was revived in and , as has been noted. Under similar conditions, the Twelfth Night staged by the Shanghai Film Actors' Theater Company in was also revived in and , with the same translation and the same director.
Several factors contributed to the popularity of Much Ado About Nothing in this particular historical period, when Marxist-Maoism controlled all aspects of public cultural life. First, the political upheavals and overt politicization of art sent theater practitioners and their audiences searching for safe texts that did not contain political messages that were in any way ambiguous.
A review of the political conditions before and during the s will illuminate this point. The s and the s were marked by the subservience of art and literature to the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party. The Communist and the Nationalist cadres promoted with equal vigor the censorship of translated authors and native literature. Mao Zedong delivered two lectures to Yan'an political cadres on May 2 and 23, In the famous "Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art," Mao reaffirmed the necessarily grass-roots and political character of cultural production: In our fight and struggle [ douzheng ] to liberate the Chinese people, there are two fronts: the cultural front and the military front.
Since the May Fourth, an army [this metaphor was taken in its literal sense] of cultural [figures] has been formed in support of the revolution in China. Mao , 8 In this context, stage productions were designed to be not merely entertainment, but rather, important sites that served to educate the proletarian masses about the revolutionary cause and its future.
When a theater group wished to concentrate on "art for art's sake" and avoid addressing the revolutionary cause, it would have to negotiate the associated risks. The director would have to find a safe text. Much Ado About Nothing emerged as a text that was safe for the actors and appropriate for the masses because it was perceived to be a romantic comedy of love, friendship, and trivial matters.
It had much to do with "nothing. Beatrice is no longer compelled to ask Benedick to kill Claudio 4. More importantly, the play was a safe text because it was chosen and designed as such by a respected Soviet expert recruited and approved by the state. The second factor that contributed to the popularity of Much Ado was the actors' and their audiences' need to escape to a fantasy world removed from contemporary politics.
The production of Much Ado About Nothing is a case in point. During the s, theater companies were given the mission to propagandize the Party ideology, to promote "progressive" ideas among the people, and to fight "class enemies. Much Ado therefore provided a rare, state-approved opportunity for the actors to try something different. The actors and the director were not at all interested in making the play relevant. Therefore, they did not modernize or sinicize the plot, costumes, characters, or stage set.
The and production and revival of Much Ado were approved before the Anti-Rightist campaign; it was staged during the campaign without causing a stir. Only a very small number of the cast were persecuted, not because they were involved in the production of Much Ado , but because they had committed other anti-revolutionary "crimes" in the past. After the Cultural Revolution, Much Ado was still a safe text, which allowed the play to be revived once again in Lipkovskaya gave the production a goal: to illustrate that men can "create a beautiful life through their struggles" Hu , translated into English by Ruru Li [, 61].
She also appropriated Stanislavsky's concept of dramatic action. For her, drama always meant "fighting," because " without fighting, there is no action" Lipkovskaya b, In an acting class, Lipkovskaya urged the actors to first "observe life" and understand " how people live" Lipkovskaya a, 8. Stanislavsky believed that " There is no such thing as actuality on stage [. Odd as it might seem, the level of attention the actors and audience paid to characterization and psychological realism drew them into the remote world of the play and made the play appear irrelevant to contemporary China.
In addition, after a series of incidents, Much Ado became a haven sealing the actors off from the political persecution outside the theater. The rehearsal room, "a sacred place" in Lipkovskaya's word, existed in sharp contrast to the world outside Lipkovskaya a, 8. The student cast members at the Shanghai Theater Academy, eager to learn new acting techniques from the state-endorsed Soviet expert, gave her their attentive ears. They also received direct orders from the Party committee of the Shanghai Theater Academy that prohibited them from engaging in anything other than their assigned task: rehearsing with Lipkovskaya.
Outside the quiet rehearsal room, by contrast, a new movement was feverishly underway. Mao Zedong announced the new policy of "hundred flowers" on May 2, at the seventh Congress meeting [ zuigao guowu huiyi ]. Mao encouraged people to voice their discontent and criticize any aspect of the new socialist society, because debates promoted progress and " even Marxism had to be developed through fight and struggle [ douzheng ]" Mao , This incident, known as the "hundred flowers" campaign, nevertheless proved to be a short-lived period of free speech. In , the political climate changed overnight.
An anti-Rightist campaign was launched, and those who disagreed with Mao were persecuted. The group working with Lipkovskaya to stage Much Ado turned out to be extremely lucky, since they were prohibited by the Party from participating in any political activities in order to concentrate solely on perfecting their acting skills. To protect herself and her students, Lipkovskaya was reported to have eulogized Engels Li , She also quoted Engels's by then canonical interpretation of Shakespeare. She also quoted Mao's words in public.
Engels lauded the European Renaissance as " the greatest progressive revolution that mankind has so far experienced, a time which called for giants and produced giants — giants in power of thought, passion, and character" Engels , Marx and Engels also highlighted Shakespeare's vivacity and "realism. In a letter to Lassalle date May 18, , Engels championed Shakespeare: The realistic should not be neglected in favor of the intellectual elements, not Shakespeare in favor of Schiller [.
Engels , According to Marx and Engels, Sickingen was abstract and didactic, lacking the kind of convincing realistic representation of the action found in Shakespeare. They believed that Lassalle followed Johann Friedrich von Schiller too closely and turned historical characters into mouthpieces for revolutionary causes.
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