Three Miniatures on Sino-French Parallels, Relations

Rooting around in the proverbial cellar of this castle in the sky/blog, I came across three essays involving, more or less, Jean-Paul Sartre and his reception in the PRC.“the-time-of-distrust”-to-today/

Is there any quarter in China’s vast intellectual canvas where Sartre’s philosophy evinces a depression, that is to say, an impact?  Perhaps even a dominant impact?  As opposed to Sartre himself being taken with Maoism in 1968?

Apparently there was a “Sartre craze” at Beijing University in 1979.  And then what?

And why aren’t his war novels read more, both generally and in China?  These texts are worth coming back to more than a few times.

Finally, as to consequences of a Sino-French mutual fascination in the 1950s:

Wolin’s work is reviewed here (somewhat unfortunately, with Eurocentric myopia!) by the Guardian.  What I should like to do is re-wire this question by way of finding origins of intellectual fascination in the early Cold War with China.


  1. A couple of these links are a bit too much trip down memory lane. Young Andy’s Theory blog and the Satre-Althusser face off.
    Satre (a pill/alcoholic addict) produced unreadable, incomprehensible tomes. Althusser, despite his crazed Leninist theory mission, nonethess turned out a few useful 1) concepts and 2)theoretical orientations.
    1) the idea of the problematic (pilfered from Bachelard) which is both useful for philosophers of science and serious historians (those who wish to go beyond conventional and revisionist approaches).
    2) the idea of the de-centred subject, which killed off the really rotten humanist idea of full subjecthood and consciousness, and which paved the way for the concept of agency.

    And structuralism has a lot to offer when seeking to describe the apparatuses which provide the CPC with various instruments of power.

    Wolin could not help but have a whale of a RETROSPECTIVE time sinking the boot into Tel Quel theorati. He should have spent a bit more time on the home US front and traced the mind warped reasoning which informed the Weather Underground. Revisited that award winning doco recently.

    Okay, Foucault had his mad moments (Jackson missed the Kmoneimi moment), but he charted the real shifts in Western knowledge and social organisation which inform our Modernity and that was some achievement.

    Great links.

    1. Good, glad this entry got some traction with you. This Sartre in China thing is going to be a minor research thread for me in the coming years, doubtless. Not sure when an article manuscript will be squeezed off, but it’s on the long agenda.

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