The Wind from the East

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-07-01
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
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Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Julia Kristeva, Phillipe Sollers, and Jean-Luc Godard. During the 1960s, a who's who of French thinkers, writers, and artists, spurred by China's Cultural Revolution, were seized with a fascination for Maoism. Combining a merciless exposť of left-wing political folly and cross-cultural misunderstanding with a spirited defense of the 1960s,The Wind from the Easttells the colorful story of this legendary period in France. Richard Wolin shows how French students and intellectuals, inspired by their perceptions of the Cultural Revolution, and motivated by utopian hopes, incited grassroots social movements and reinvigorated French civic and cultural life. Wolin's riveting narrative reveals that Maoism's allure among France's best and brightest actually had little to do with a real understanding of Chinese politics. Instead, it paradoxically served as a vehicle for an emancipatory transformation of French society. French student leftists took up the trope of "cultural revolution," applying it to their criticisms of everyday life. Wolin examines how Maoism captured the imaginations of France's leading cultural figures, influencing Sartre's "perfect Maoist moment"; Foucault's conception of power; Sollers's chic, leftist intellectual journalTel Quel; as well as Kristeva's book on Chinese women--which included a vigorous defense of foot-binding. Recounting the cultural and political odyssey of French students and intellectuals in the 1960s,The Wind from the Eastillustrates how the Maoist phenomenon unexpectedly sparked a democratic political sea change in France.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. ix
Introduction: The Maoist Temptationp. 1
The Hour of Rebellion
Showdown at Bruay-en-Artoisp. 25
France during the 1960sp. 39
May 1968: The Triumph of Libidinal Politicsp. 70
Who Were the Maoists?p. 109
Excursus: On the Sectarian Maoism of Alain Badioup. 155
The Hour of the Intellectuals
Jean-Paul Sartre's Perfect Maoist Momentp. 179
Tel Quel in Cultural-Political Hellp. 233
Foucault and the Maoists: Biopolitics and Engagementp. 288
The Impossible Heritage: From Cultural Revolution to Associational Democracyp. 350
Bibliographyp. 371
Indexp. 385
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