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Schiller and Chinese Aesthetic Education Thought in the First Half of the20th Century

Author: MoXiaoHong
Tutor: ZhaoYanQiu
School: Hunan Normal University
Course: Literature and Art
Keywords: Schiller the first half of the20th century aestheticeducation accept
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2014
Downloads: 6
Quote: 0
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Friedlich Schiller(1759-1805) is a great German poet, dramatist and aesthetician, who was referred to as "Gemini" together with Goethe in the German literary history and called "the Twin Peak" with Shakespeare in the history of world drama. His creative use of the term "aesthetic education" opened the the criticism of aesthetic modernity. Thereby he had been known as "Father of modern aesthetic eduation". As early as the beginning of the20th century, his thoughts of aesthetic education,as important thinking resources, had been introduced into China due to the scholars such as Wang Guowei, Cai Yuanpei, Zhang Junmai, Zhu Guangqian and Zong Baihua promoting the fomation and development of Chinese aesthetic education thought. On the basis of literature study, this paper aims to inspect the relationship between Schiller and Chinese aesthetic education in the first half of the20th century from the genealogical respective, to investigate the historical reasons and specific facts about modern China’s accepting Schiller’s aesthetic education thoughts and to make clear the effects of Schiller on the formation and development of Chinese aesthetic education thoughts in the first half of the20th century and the degree and ways of those effects. Selecting Wang Guowei, Cai Yuanpei, Zhu Guangqian and Zong Baihua,Guo Moruo,Tian Han as typical cases of study, this paper is to explore the thinking resources and basic rules of this cultural event.My paper is made up of three parts:introduction,text and conclusion.The introduction part mainly explains the origin and significance of this writing and the present study situation of the topic. It defines the concept of aesthetic education and aesthetic education thought, expounds the main contents of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought from the perspective of human nature and the perfection of personality.There are four chapters of the main body.Chapter one discusses the translation, reception and effects of Schiller, in China during the first half of the20th century. Schiller was introduced into China under the historical context of modern transformation of traditional culture, the innovation of old education system and the rising of mass media. The translation of Schiller’s works had undergone three stages:the initial period in the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China, the boom from the New Culture Movement to the1930s, the doldrum from the Anti-Japanese War to the founding of new China. The reception of Schiller showed three tendencies:the selective filtering, Chinese adaptation and image-type imagination. Schiller’s aesthetic education thought, through the whole process of Chinese aesthetic education’s rising, development and Theology, changed the subordinate status of traditional Chinese aesthetic education, promoted the aesthetic ideals of freedom and led the aesthetic education to observation of the real life and to the construction of ideal society.Chapter two inspects Wang Guowei’s and Cai Yuanpei’s reception of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought. Wang Guowei is a pioneer and founder of Chinese modern aesthetic education, revered as "China’s Hille (i.e., Schiller)". As early as in1903he began to introduce western modern aesthetic education theory, dug into traditional Chinese aesthetic education concepts, confirmed the emotion education nature of aesthetic education and advocated independent aesthetic education. The aesthetic education thought of Wang Guowei were deeply influenced by Schiller. Early in the20th century Wang Guowei acquainted himself with Schiller’s aesthetics and aesthetic education through his self-study of western learning. Later when he became the chief editor of the magazine "Education World", he introduced the era background of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought, the teleology and axiology of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought for several times. With "the game theory" of Schiller as the theoretical foundation, Wang Guowei affirmed the game nature of art, emphasized the "useless value" of literature and art function, criticized the traditional thoughts of "writings are meant to carry truth". Moreover, on the basis of Schiller’s distinguishing the means of artistic creation in "on Naive and Sentimental poetry", Wang interpreted the classical Chinese poetry and innovated the traditional theory of artistic conception. Honored as China’s "Father of Modern Aesthetic Education", Cai Yuanpei devoted her lifetime to carry out aesthetic education. As the general education director of the Republic of China, he wrote aesthetic education into the national education policy, establishing the aesthetic education in Chinese history of modern education for the first time; As President of Peking University, he practically and physically guided aesthetic education practice. Under Cai Yuanpei’s advocation and guidance, Chinese aesthetic education thought in the first half of the20th century took shape and developed rapidly. Greatly influenced by Schiller, Cai Yuanpei’s aesthetic education thought absorbed Schiller’s aesthetic education teleology of all-round development, the aesthetic essentialism of affective education as the connotation, the aesthetic axiology of mediation and reconcilation as the function, the aesthetic implementation theory of art education as the means, and constructed China’s modern aesthetic education theory system. Under different contexts and faced different problems from those of Schillerr, the reception of Cai Yuanpei, while absorbing, presented the tendency of innovation and development in the process of localization. He made aesthetic education enlightening, attached more importance to aesthetic education practice compared with Schiller, focused on overall aesthetic education view from family, school to society, put forward the influential "aesthetic education for religion". Under the background of China’s enlightenment in the late19th century and early20th century, Wang Guowei and Cai Yuanpei tried to train ideal human beings through aesthetic education, form a "healthy personality", reform the national prey, make aesthetic education an important part of. the "cultivating new type of ordinary people "education.Chapter three inspects Zhu Guangqian’s and Zong Baihua’s reception of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought. Zhu Guangqian was one of the most important aesthetes of the20th century in China, His aesthetic thought contained rich aesthetic education thought. As an important Chinese translator of Schiller’s thoughts, the aesthetic education thought of Zhu Guangqian is also influenced by Schiller. He absorbed Schiller’s humanistic aesthetic education, paid attention to the tranquil ity function of aesthetic education, pointed out the highest value of life is beauty, put forward the proposition of "life artistry". Zong Baihua is also one of China’s most important aesthetes of the20th century. On the basis of studying Schiller’s aesthetic education thoughts, he put forward the plan of constructing ideal personality with considering the social reality of China, combined the research of realm with the study of personality, put forward the topics "art life" and "artistic life". As the twin peaks in the history of Chinese modern aesthetics, Zhu Guangqian and Zong Baihua both paid attention to human survival state in the suffering society, tried to relieve the boredom of life, the inner pressure, loneliness and emptiness through aesthetic education, and improve people’s aesthetic accomplishment, reflect on life with aesthetic attitude and regard the social life as art, so as to realize the vigor of life, the appeal of the living, the liberation of mind, endowing aesthetic education with the function of "salvation". However, The "aesthetic redemption" theory of Zhu Guangqian and Zong Baihua was different from that of Wang Guowei, who thought our pain was the result of "desire" of life and the way of liberation is refusal of desire and to represent the mood of pessimism. In the view of Zhu Guangqian and Zong Baihua, the ultimate goal of life is "participation" instead of "detachment". The cultivation of "birth of spirit" is to better complete the "cause of participation", for escaping from the reality was just a way to realize poetic life. in an adverse environment.Chapter four explores Guo Moruo’s and Tian Han’s reception of Schiller’s aesthetic education thought. Guo Moruo was a giant of Chinese culture in the20th century, who had accomplished remarkable achievements in the field of drama and poetry. Guo Moruo and Tian Han expected themselves to be "China’s Goethe and Schiller" respectively. While Guo Moruo was referred to as "Goethe of new China during the socialism era", Guo Moruo was the chinese translator of Schiller’s drama "Wallenstein". In his early years, Guo Moruo had accepted "the game theory" of Schiller, emphasized the aimlessness of art, agreed on Schiller’s distinction between the two kinds of composition techniques:romanticism and realism and put "imitation art" against" performance art". The composition of Guo Moruo’s historical drama also presented a "Schiller type" tendency, propagandized the spirit of time, followed the creation principle of seeking similarity from facts, showed the tragedy spirit of bitter struggle. Tian Han was a Grand Master in the history of Chinese modern drama, who had pledged to be "Chinese Schiller". His works had the unique aesthetic style and aesthetic value while his art practice and art theory contained abundant aesthetic education thoughts. When studying in Japan, Tian Han had introduced Schiller’s aesthetic education thoughts, accepted "the game theory"and aesthetic reconciliation theory of Schiller. Schiller was a "romantic poet" worshipped in his heart at that time. After returning to China, he translated the main contents of Schiller’s two dramas "The Orleans Girl" and "William Tell", praising Schiller as a man "fighting for freedom". In the1950s, he greatly praised Schiller as "a soldier fighting for democracy and national freedom". Tian Han’s reception of Schiller highlights the evolution of era spirit in our country. The aesthetic education thoughts of Tian Han were greatly influenced by those of Schiller. As a result, the historical drama composition of Tian Han presented themes of democracy and patriotism just like Schiller. He showed the character personality through sharp conflicts, followed the composition principle of "poetic authenticity" and expressed his own emotion with bold self-image in the play. Both of Guo Moru and Tian Han were great pioneers in Chinese circle of literature and art in the1940s, whose art theory and practice had strong epochal character. Both of them accepted Schiller’s thoughts of constructuring the society and realizing the political ideal of freedom through aesthetic education. However they ignored the "mediation" form of art, made art directly roar for community and cry for politics. Chinese aesthetic education, thus lost the metaphysical comfort function, instead on a path to serving for politics.The conclusion mainly summarizes the characteristics of Schiller’s reception in China during the first half of the20th century and looks forward to the direction of Schiller’s reception in the future. Schiller’s reception in China during the first half of the20th century presented three different value orientations:aesthetic enlightenment, aesthetic redemption and political demands. Today, the rapid development of science and mechanized production has brought the division refinement and specialization. This rational rule of tool led to the one-sided development of human beings, the lost of life’s subjectivity, the strangle of our freedom and characteristics. How to cultivate people of all-round development and improve people’s quality of life become major theoretical subjects of era significance. Schiller’s aesthetic education thought will play a more important social role and become thought resources to solve people’s survival crisis in the modern society. Entering the new century, the central government put forward the strategic task of building a harmonious socialist society and a beautiful China. Schiller regarded aesthetic education as a future-oriented reconciliation strength. His aesthetic education thought will play a positive role in guiding the construction of a harmonious society and a beautiful China.

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