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Philosophy and social thought

Marx polemic with other thinkers often occurred through critique, and thus he has been called "the first great user of critical method in social sciences."[117][118] He criticised speculative philosophy, Sony VPCEA16EC/W Battery

equating metaphysics with ideology.[121] By adopting this approach, Marx attempted to separate key findings from ideological biases.[118] This set him apart from many contemporary philosophers.[7] Sony VPCEA16EC/P Battery

Fundamentally, Marx assumed that human history involves transforming human nature, which encompasses both human beings and material objects.[122]Humans recognise that they possess both actual and potential selves.[123][124] For both Marx and Hegel, Sony VPCEB18EC/T Battery

self-development begins with an experience of internal alienation stemming from this recognition, followed by a realisation that the actual self, as a subjective agent, renders its potential counterpart an object to be apprehended.[124] Sony VPCEB18EC/WI Battery

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Marx further argues that, by molding nature[125] in desired ways,[126] the subject takes the object as its own, and thus permits the individual to be actualised as fully human. Sony PCG-71212T Battery

For Marx, then, human nature—Gattungswesen, or species-being—exists as a function of human labour.[123][124][126] Fundamental to Marx's idea of meaningful labour is the proposition that, in order for a subject to come to terms with its alienated object, Sony PCG-61211T Battery

it must first exert influence upon literal, material objects in the subject's world.[127] Marx acknowledges that Hegel "grasps the nature of work and comprehends objective man, authentic because actual, as the result of his own work",[128] Sony PCG-61212T Battery

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but characterises Hegelian self-development as unduly "spiritual" and abstract.[129] Marx thus departs from Hegel by insisting that "the fact that man is acorporeal, actual, Sony PCG-31211T Battery

sentient, objective being with natural capacities means that he has actual, sensuous objects for his nature as objects of his life-expression, or that he can only express his life in actual sensuous objects."[127] Consequently, Marx revises Hegelian "work" into material "labour", and in the context of human capacity to transform nature the term "labour power".[3] Sony PCG-31311T Battery

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Labour, class struggle and false consciousness

Marx had a special concern with how people relate to that most fundamental resource of all, their own labour power.[130] He wrote extensively about this in terms of the problem of alienation.[131] Sony PCG-51111T Battery

As with the dialectic, Marx began with a Hegelian notion of alienation but developed a more materialist conception.[130] Capitalism mediates social relationships of production (such as among workers or between workers and capitalists) through commodities, including labour, that are bought and sold on the market.[130] Sony PCG-51311T Battery

For Marx, the possibility that one may give up ownership of one's own labour—one's capacity to transform the world—is tantamount to being alienated from one's own nature; it is a spiritual loss.[130] Sony PCG-81111T Battery

Marx described this loss as commodity fetishism, in which the things that people produce, commodities, appear to have a life and movement of their own to which humans and their behavior merely adapt.[132] Sony PCG-81311T Battery

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Commodity fetishism provides an example of what Engels called "false consciousness",[133] which relates closely to the understanding of ideology. By "ideology",Sony VGN-CS13H Battery

Marx and Engels meant ideas that reflect the interests of a particular class at a particular time in history, but which contemporaries see as universal and eternal.[134] Sony VGN-CS17H Battery

Marx and Engels's point was not only that such beliefs are at best half-truths; they serve an important political function. Put another way, the control that one class exercises over the means of production includes not only the production of food or manufactured goods; Sony VGN-CS17H/B Battery

it includes the production of ideas as well (this provides one possible explanation for why members of a subordinate class may hold ideas contrary to their own interests).[3][135] Sony VGN-CS17H/W Battery

An example of this sort of analysis is Marx's understanding of religion, summed up in a passage from the preface[136] to his 1843 Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Sony VGN-CS19 Battery

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. Sony VGN-CS19/B Battery

It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. Sony VGN-CS25H/B Battery

—Karl Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right[137]

Whereas his Gymnasium senior thesis argued that religion had as its primary social aim the promotion of solidarity, here Marx sees the social function of religion in terms of highlighting/preserving political and economic status quo and inequality.[138] Sony VGN-FW17 Battery

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Economy, history and society

Marx's thoughts on labour were related to the primacy he gave to the economic relation in determining the society's past, present and future (see also economic determinism).[117][120][139] Sony VGN-FW17/W Battery

Accumulation of capital shapes the social system.[120] Social change, for Marx, was about conflict between opposing interests, driven, in the background, by economic forces.[117] This became the inspiration for the body of works known as the conflict theory.[139] Sony VGN-FW19 Battery

In his evolutionary model of history, he argued that human history began with free, productive and creative work that was over time coerced and dehumanised, a trend most apparent under capitalism.[117] Marx noted that this was not an intentional process; rather, no individual or even no state can go against the forces of economy.[120] Sony VGN-FW19/B Battery

The organisation of society depends on means of production. Literally those things, like land, natural resources, and technology, necessary for the production of material goods and the relations of production, in other words, the social relationships people enter into as they acquire and use the means of production.[139] Sony VGN-FW27 Battery

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Together these compose the mode of production, and Marx distinguished historical eras in terms of distinct modes of production. Marx differentiated between base and superstructure, Sony VGN-FW48J Battery

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with the base (or substructure) referring to the economic system, and superstructure, to the cultural and political system.[139] Marx regarded this mismatch between (economic) base and (social) superstructure as a major source of social disruption and conflict.[139] Sony VGN-FW58F Battery

Despite Marx's stress on critique of capitalism and discussion of the new communist society that should replace it, his explicit critique of capitalism is guarded, as he saw it as an improved society compared to the past ones (slavery and feudal).[3] Marx also never clearly discusses issues of morality and justice, although scholars agree that his work contained implicit discussion of those concepts.[3] Sony VGN-FW58F/B Battery

Marx's view of capitalism was two sided.[3][94] On one hand, Marx, in the 19th century's deepest critique of the dehumanising aspects of this system, noted that defining features of capitalism include alienation, Sony VGN-NS15H Battery

exploitation and recurring, cyclical depressions leading to mass unemployment; on the other hand capitalism is also characterised by "revolutionizing, industrializing and universalizing qualities of development, growth and progressivity" (by which Marx meant industrialisation, Sony VGN-NW18H Battery

urbanisation, technological progress, increased productivity and growth, rationality and scientific revolution), that are responsible for progress.[3][94][117] Marx considered the capitalist class to be one of the most revolutionary in history, Sony VGN-NW25E Battery

because it constantly improved the means of production, more so than any other class in history, and was responsible for the overthrow of feudalism and its transition to capitalism.[120][140] Sony VGN-NW25E/B Battery

Capitalism can stimulate considerable growth because the capitalist can, and has an incentive to, reinvest profits in new technologies and capital equipment.[130] Sony VGN-NW25E/P Battery

According to Marx capitalists take advantage of the difference between the labour market and the market for whatever commodity the capitalist can produce. Marx observed that in practically every successful industry input unit-costs are lower than output unit-prices. Sony VGN-NW28E Battery

Marx called the difference "surplus value" and argued that this surplus value had its source in surplus labour, the difference between what it costs to keep workers alive and what they can produce.[3] Sony VPCCW26EC/B Battery

Marx's dual view of capitalism can be seen in his description of the capitalists: he refers to them as to vampires sucking worker's blood, but at the same time,[117] Sony VPCCW26EC/P Battery

he notes that drawing profit is "by no means an injustice"[3] and that capitalists simply cannot go against the system.[120] The true problem lies with the "cancerous cell" of capital, understood not as property or equipment, but the relations between workers and owners – the economic system in general.[120] Sony VPCCW26EC/W Battery

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At the same time, Marx stressed that capitalism was unstable, and prone to periodic crises.[4] He suggested that over time, capitalists would invest more and more in new technologies, Sony VPCCW28EC/B Battery

and less and less in labour.[3] Since Marx believed that surplus value appropriated from labour is the source of profits, he concluded that the rate of profit would fall even as the economy grew.[105] Sony VPCCW28EC/L Battery

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Marx believed that increasingly severe crises would punctuate this cycle of growth, collapse, and more growth.[105] Moreover, he believed that in the long-term this process would necessarily enrich and empower the capitalist class and impoverish the proletariat.[105][120] Sony VPCCW28EC/R Battery

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In section one of The Communist Manifesto Marx describes feudalism, capitalism, and the role internal social contradictions play in the historical process:Sony VPCF119FC/BI Battery

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We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, Sony VPCF219FC Battery

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the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged ... the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; Sony VPCM125JC/P Battery

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they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder. Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class. Sony VPCM128JC Battery

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A similar movement is going on before our own eyes ... The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; Sony VPCM128JC/P Battery

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on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring order into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. Sony VPCS115EC Battery

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Marx believed that those structural contradictions within capitalism necessitate its end, giving way to socialism, or a post-capitalistic, communist society:Sony VPCS115EC/G Battery

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The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable."Sony VPCS118EC Battery

—Karl Marx and Frederic Engels, The Communist Manifesto[141]

Thanks to various processes overseen by capitalism, such as urbanisation, the working class, the proletariat, should grow in numbers and develop a class consciousness, Sony VPCS118EC/B Battery

in time realising that they have to change the system.[117][120] Marx believed that if the proletariat were to seize the means of production, they would encourage social relations that would benefit everyone equally, Sony VPCS118EC/G Battery

abolishing exploiting class, and introduce a system of production less vulnerable to cyclical crises.[117] Marx argued that capitalism will end through the organised actions of an international working class: Sony VPCS118EC/P Battery

  • Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence." Sony VPCS119GC Battery

—Karl Marx, The German Ideology[142]

  • In this new society the self-alienation would end, and humans would be free to act without being bound by the labour market.[105] It would be a democratic society, enfranchising the entire population.[120] Sony VPCS119GC/B Battery
  • In such a utopian world there would also be little if any need for a state, which goal was to enforce the alienation.[105] He theorised that between capitalism and the establishment of a socialist/communist system, Sony VPCS119GC/P Battery
  • a dictatorship of the proletariat—a period where the working class holds political power and forcibly socialises the means of production—would exist.[120] As he wrote in his "Critique of the Gotha Program", Sony VPCS125EC Battery
  • "between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat."[143] Sony VPCS125EC/B Battery
  • While he allowed for the possibility of peaceful transition in some countries with strong democratic institutional structures (such as Britain, the US and the Netherlands), he suggested that in other countries with strong centralised state-oriented traditions, like France and Germany, the "lever of our revolution must be force."[144] Sony VPCS125EC/G Battery
  • Marx married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Together had seven children, but partly owing to the poor living conditions they were forced to live in whilst in London, only three survived to adulthood.[145] Sony VPCS125EC/P Battery
  • The children were: Jenny Caroline (m. Longuet; 1844–83); Jenny Laura (m. Lafargue; 1845–1911); Edgar (1847–1855); Henry Edward Guy ("Guido"; 1849–1850); Sony VPCS128EC Battery
  • Jenny Eveline Frances ("Franziska"; 1851–52); Jenny Julia Eleanor (1855–98) and one more who died before being named (July 1857). There are allegations that Marx also fathered a son, Freddy,[29] out of wedlock by his housekeeper, Helene Demuth.[146] Sony VPCS128EC/B Battery
  • Marx frequently used pseudonyms, often when renting a house or flat, apparently to make it harder for the authorities to track him down. While in Paris, he used that of 'Monsieur Ramboz', whilst in London he signed off his letters as 'A. Williams'. Sony VPCS128EC/G Battery
  • His friends referred to him as 'Moor', owing to his dark complexion and black curly hair, something which they believed made him resemble the historical Moors of North Africa, whilst he encouraged his children to call him 'Old Nick' and 'Charley'.[147] Sony VPCS128EC/P Battery
  • He also bestowed nicknames and pseudonyms on his friends and family as well, referring to Friedrich Engels as 'General', his housekeeper Helene as 'Lenchen' or 'Nym', while one of his daughters, Jennychen, was referred to as 'Qui Qui, Emperor of China' and another, Laura, was known as 'Kakadou' or 'the Hottentot'.[147] Sony VPCS129GC Battery
  • Marx is widely thought of as one of the most influential thinkers in history, who has had a significant influence on both world politics and intellectual thought, and in a 1999 BBC poll was voted the top "thinker of the millennium".[10][11][7] Sony VPCS129GC/G Battery
  • Robert C. Tucker credits Marx with profoundly affecting ideas about history, society, economics, culture and politics, and the nature of social inquiry.[148] Marx's biographer Francis Wheen considers the "history of the twentieth century" to be "Marx's legacy",[149] Sony VPCS135EC Battery
  • whilst philosopher Peter Singer believes that Marx's impact can be compared with that of the founders of the two major world religions, Jesus Christ and Muhammad.[150] Sony VPCS136EC Battery

Singer notes that "Marx's ideas brought about modern sociology, transformed the study of history, and profoundly affected philosophy, literature and the arts."[150] Sony VPCS138EC Battery

  • Paul Ricœur calls Marx one of the masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud.[151] Philip Stokes says that Marx's ideas led to him becoming "the darling of both European and American intellectuals up until the 1960s".[152] Sony VPCS139GC Battery
  • Marx has influenced disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology,[153] media studies,[154] political science, theater, history, sociological theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy.[155] Sony VPCY118EC Battery
  • In July 2005, 27.9% of listeners in a BBC Radio 4 series In Our Time poll selected Marx as their favorite thinker.[156] Sony VPCY118EC/B Battery
  • The reasons for Marx's widespread influence revolve around his ethical message; a "morally empowering language of critique" against the dominant capitalist society. Sony VPCY218EC Battery
  • No other body of work was so relevant to the modern times, and at the same time, so outspoken about the need for change.[7] In the political realm, Marx's ideas led to the establishment of governments using Marxist thought to replace capitalism with communism or socialismSony VPCY218EC/BI Battery
  • (or augment it with market socialism) across much of the world, whilst his intellectual thought has heavily influenced the academic study of the humanities and the arts. Sony VPCY218EC/G Battery


  • Followers of Marx have drawn on his work to propose grand, cohesive theoretical outlooks dubbed "Marxism". This body of works has had significant influence on the both political and scientific scenes.[157] Sony VPCY218EC/L Battery
  • Nevertheless, Marxists have frequently debated amongst themselves over how to interpret Marx's writings and how to apply his concepts to their contemporary events and conditions.[157] Sony VPCY218EC/P Battery
  • The legacy of Marx's thought has become bitterly contested between numerous tendencies which each see themselves as Marx's most accurate interpreters, including (but not limited to) Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, Luxemburgism, and libertarian Marxism.[157] Sony VPCY218EC/R Battery
  • In academic Marxism, various currents have developed as well, often under influence of other views, resulting in structuralist Marxism, historical Marxism, phenomenological Marxism, Analytical Marxism and Hegelian Marxism.[157] Sony VPCYA15EC Battery
  • Moreover, there is a distinction between "Marxism" and "what Marx believed"; for example, shortly before he died in 1883, Marx wrote a letter to the French workers' leader Jules Guesde, and to his own son-in-law Paul Lafargue, Sony VPCYA16EC Battery
  • accusing them of "revolutionary phrase-mongering" and of lack of faith in the working class. After the French party split into a reformist and revolutionary party, some accused Guesde (leader of the latter) of taking orders from Marx; Marx remarked to Lafargue, "if that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist" (in a letter to Engels, Marx later accused Guesde of being a "Bakuninist").[158] Sony VPCYA25EC Battery

Founder of social science

  • Marx is typically cited, along with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.[9] In contrast to philosophers, Sony VPCYA26EC Battery
  • Marx offered theories that could often be tested with the scientific method.[7] Both Marx and Auguste Comte set out to develop scientifically justified ideologies in the wake of European secularisation and new developments in the philosophies of history and science. Sony VPCYB15JC Battery
  • Whilst Marx, working in the Hegelian tradition, rejected Comtean sociological positivism, in attempting to develop a science of society he nevertheless came to be recognised as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning.[41] In modern sociological theory, Sony VGN-AR47G/E1 Battery
  • Marxist sociology is recognised as one of the main classical perspectives. For Isaiah Berlin, Marx may be regarded as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title."[159] Sony VGN-AR520 Battery

Debate over predictions and theories

While many Marxist concepts are still of importance for modern social science, some specific predictions Marx made have been shown to be unlikely.[7]Marx is often criticised for expecting a wave of socialist revolutions, Sony VGN-AR520E Battery

  • originating in the most highly industrialised countries,[160] to overturn capitalism. However others, pointing to Marx's encounter with late 19th-century Russian populism and Marx and Engels's preface to the second Russian edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1882), Sony VGN-AR53DB Battery
  • have argued that Marx evinced a growing conviction in his late writings that revolution could in fact emerge first in Russia.[161] Marx predicted the eventual fall of capitalism, to be replaced by socialism, Sony VGN-AR54DB Battery
  • yet since the late 20th century state socialism is in retreat, as the Soviet Union collapsed, and the People's Republic of China shifted towards a market economy.[162] Sony VGN-AR550 Battery
  • Additionally, his argument that profits are generated only through surplus labour has been challenged by the counterclaim that profits also come from investments in human capital and technology.[7] Sony VGN-AR550E Battery
  • Marx correctly predicted that over time, inequality would grow[163] but he also believed that this would mean growing impoverishment of the growing worker class, increasingly exploited by the capitalists.[7] Sony VGN-AR550U Battery
  • The latter has also come true; as in the developed world, through liberal reforms, trade unions won many concessions, improving the situation of the workers (something that Marx considered very unlikely); Sony VGN-AR55DB Battery
  • in the more populated parts of the world such as Africa, India, and China the populations continue to grow and all the industry is moving there if it has not already established itself in the last two decades. Sony VGN-AR570 Battery
  • Worldwide poverty has increased since the end of the 19th century especially considering that the richest are richer than ever but the poor have remained at the same level and the percentage has risen in the last 30 years.[7][164][165][166] Sony VGN-AR570U Battery
  • (Scholars have debated whether Marx's comments about the proletariat can be analyzed in the context of the working class).[167] In addition to specific predictions, certain of Marx's theories, such as his labour theory of value, have also been criticised.[3][118] Sony VGN-AR590 Battery
  • However, in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008, Greek government debt crisis, and European sovereign debt crisis some thinkers like Terry Eagleton, David Harvey, Sony VGN-AR590CE Battery
  • and David McNally have given renewed impetus to the debate on whether Marx was right that capitalism inherently tends towards crisis (which Marx discussed as the "contradictions of capital").[168] Sony VGN-AR590E Battery
  • While Marxist thought may be used to empower marginalised and dispossessed people, it has also been used to prop up governments who have utilised violence to remove those seen as impeding the revolution.[7][118] In some instances, his ultimate goals have been used as justification for the end justifies the means logic.[7] Sony VGN-AR605 Battery
  • Moreover, contrary to his goal, his ideas have been used to promote dogmatism and intolerance.[7] Polish historian Andrzej Walicki noted that Marx's and Engels's theory was the "theory of freedom", Sony VGN-AR605E Battery
  • but a theory that, at the height of its influence, was used to legitimise the totalitarian socialist state of the Soviet Union.[169] This abuse of Marx's thought is perhaps most clearly exemplified in Stalinist Marxism, Sony VGN-AR610 Battery
  • described by critics as the "most widespread and successful form of mass indoctrination... a masterly achievement in transforming Marxism into the official ideology of a consistently totalitarian state."[170] Sony VGN-AR610E Battery

The controversy is further fueled as some left-wing theorists have tried to shield Marxism from any connection to the Soviet regime.[171] Lastly, the undue focus on the Marxist thought in the former Eastern Bloc, often forbidding social science arguments from outside the Marxist perspective,[172][173]Sony VGN-AR61E Battery

  • led to a backlash against Marxism after the revolutions of 1989. In one example, references to Marx drastically decreased in Polish sociology after the fall of the revolutionary socialist governments, and two major research institutions which advocated the Marxist approach to sociology were closed.[174] Sony VGN-AR61M Battery
  • Sony VGN-AR61S Battery
  • In 208, the allied forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei defeated the warlord Cao Cao at the Battle of Red Cliffs, halting Cao's southern expansion and cementing Eastern Wu's place in the Three Kingdoms. Sony VGN-AR61ZU Battery
  • Liu Bei did not have a power base then so Sun Quan agreed to lend him Jing Province until he had established his own domain. By 219, Liu Bei had seized Yi Province from the warlord Liu Zhang, but Jing Province was still under his control and governed by his general Guan Yu. Sony VGN-AR620 Battery
  • When Guan Yu left Jing Province to attack Cao Cao's forces in the north, Lu Xun pretended to take over Lü Meng's command of the military on Jing Province's eastern front. Lu Xun wrote a flattering letter to Guan Yu, praising Guan and putting on a weak front for himself. Sony VGN-AR620E Battery
  • Guan Yu lowered his guard against Lu Xun and reduced the number of reserve troops in Jing Province. Lü Meng and Lu Xun then staged a secret attack on Jing Province and conquered it swiftly, with many of Guan Yu's subordinates defecting to Wu. Sony VGN-AR630 Battery
  • Lu Xun also proposed to Sun Quan to adopt measures to win the hearts of people in Jing Province. The number of deserting troops in Guan Yu's army gradually increased as the morale decreased until Guan was left with a small force. Guan was eventually captured and executed on Sun Quan's order. Sony VGN-AR630E Battery
  • When Liu Bei found out that Jing Province had been taken and that Guan Yu had been executed, he was enraged. He led the army of Shu Han eastward to reclaim Jing Province and avenge Guan. The Wu army suffered defeats by Shu in the initial stages, until Sun Quan decided to appoint Lu Xun as commander-in-chief. Sony VGN-AR64DB Battery
  • Lu Xun established several forts and reinforced the existing citadels instead of directly contesting Liu Bei's advance. Although this strategy sacrificed territory, it gained him critical time to organize and transport the Wu troops. The critical points thus established also served to tie down enemy troops and disrupt enemy supply routes. Sony VGN-AR650 Battery
  • Few generals were happy with the choice of Lu Xun as commander-in-chief; many of them were hardened veterans who had been in service since Sun Jian's time, Sony VGN-AR650U Battery
  • whereas Lu Xun was relatively new and less well-known (Lü Meng received most credit for the capture of Jing Province). They wished to attack Liu Bei while his troops were presumably exhausted from the march. Lu Xun denied them, Sony VGN-AR65DB Battery
  • stating that he discerned that Liu Bei had planned for that, and open battle would be too risky. Liu Bei then sent some forces forward to lure the Wu army into an ambush; the generals wanted to fight, but Lu Xun, predicting an ambush, once again ordered them to stay put. Sony VGN-AR660 Battery
  • Once the Shu troops had begun to show signs of fatigue, Lu Xun, after several months of inactivity, suddenly struck, first tricking the Shu commanders with a mock attack on one of their camps, Sony VGN-AR660U Battery
  • then ordering his troops to move forward with torches and set fire to all the other camps of Liu Bei's army. This was followed by a devastating attack from three sides by all of the Wu forces, Sony VGN-AR670 Battery
  • and Liu Bei's army was utterly destroyed. Liu Bei fled west and died a year later in the city of Baidicheng. Lu Xun rose to fame for his role in the battle and became highly regarded by his colleagues. Sony VGN-AR670N Battery
  • The Wu army prepared for a follow-up campaign into Shu territory, but Lu Xun perceived that Wei forces would take the opportunity to attack Wu, and called off the campaign. His concern was justified when his prediction came true later. Sony VGN-AR68C Battery
  • Lu Xun had cemented his position as a military commander, and was appointed governor of Jing Province. In the Battle of Shiting, Zhou Fang, a provincial official feigned defection to Wei, Sony VGN-AR690 Battery
  • luring a large Wei army commanded by Cao Xiu deep into Wu territory. Lu Xun laid an ambush and destroyed most of the enemy army, while the rest were rescued by Jia Kui, who predicted the ambush and tried to convince Cao Xiu beforehand, but was rejected. Sony VGN-AR690CU Battery
  • At a later date, Wu launched a campaign northward, but one of their trusted couriers was captured and news of their military plans leaked out. Zhuge Jin, one of the generals leading the campaign, began to panic and wrote to Lu Xun, seeking advice on how to retreat; Sony VGN-AR690U Battery
  • Lu Xun did not reply, but instead spent his time playing chess and planting beans. The perplexed Zhuge Jin went to find out what Lu Xun was up to. Lu Xun explained that if they fled immediately, Sony VGN-AR705 Battery
  • the army would be in chaos and the enemy would be able to take advantage, pursue and destroy them. Instead, by acting calm, they would suspect that there is a plot and thus hesitate, allowing their forces to quietly withdraw. Just as he said, the enemy hesitated and their forces were able to withdraw safely. Sony VGN-AR705E/B Battery
  • Lu Xun was a highly respected advisor to Sun Quan; he was known for his virtue and humility, as well as his keen insight. After Sun Quan declared himself emperor, Lu Xun was appointed chancellor. Sony VGN-AR710 Battery

Later life

  • Tang emerged from the vital merchant class of Suzhou, at a very low economic level of the son of a restaurant operator. Contrary to some accounts, he seems to have studied assiduously during his youth, paying little attention to the worldly charms. Sony VGN-AR710E/B Battery
  • His genius, which would later gain him renown as the supreme talent of the Jiangnan area (Southern China), soon drew him into the wealthy, powerful, and talented circles of Suzhou. Sony VGN-AR71J Battery
  • Wen Zhengming became his friend; Wen's father, Wen Lin (1445–1499), acted as something of a patron, making the right connections for him.[3]Sony VGN-AR71L Battery

He was a brilliant student and became the protégé of Wen Lin. His friends in Suzhou’s scholarly circles included Shen Zhou, Wu Kuan (1436–1504) and Zhu Yunming. Sony VGN-AR71S Battery

  • In 1498 Tang Yin came first in the provincial examinations in Nanjing, the second stage in the civil service examination ladder. The following year he went to the capital to sit the national examinations, Sony VGN-AR71ZU Battery
  • but he and his friend Xu Jing (?- 1507) were accused of bribing the servant of one of the chief examiners to give them the examination questions in advance. All parties were jailed, Sony VGN-AR720 Battery
  • and Tang Yin returned to Suzhou in disgrace, his justifiably high hopes for a distinguished civil service career dashed forever.[4] Tang Yin perfected an admirable hand in semi-cursive script (also known as running script). Sony VGN-AR720E Battery
  • His poems touch on themes which people like Wen Zhengming or the older Shen Zhou would have never taken up. Tang seems compelled to deal with the base elements in man - envy, venality, and cupidity. Sony VGN-AR720E/B Battery
  • Tragic unfulfillment, driven by belief in the relentlessness of fate and the bitterness of the ultimate truth imbues his more thoughtful poems. At times he is overcome by tragic sorrow for the loss of childlike innocence; Sony VGN-AR730 Battery
  • at times even love is fraught with ruin and unhappiness. Those poems which do manage to begin on an optimistic note often end on a note of regret. Sony VGN-AR730E/B Battery
  • A Short Verse on Bamboo The moon sinks in the fourth watch, Paper windows seem transparent; Stirring from wine, I prop my head and read awhile. High thoughts, I force myself, but can't help it; Ten stalks, still green in winter, cast profuse shadows."[5] Sony VGN-AR73DB Battery
  • Wu is best known for writing Journey to the West,[5] one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Wu is widely thought to have published the work in anonymity due to the social pressures at the time. At the time when Wu lived, Sony VGN-AR74DB Battery
  • there was a trend in Chinese literary circles to imitate the classical literature of the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties, written in Classical Chinese;[1][3]late in life, however, Wu went against this trend by apparently writing the novel, Journey to the West in the vernacular tongue.[3] Sony VGN-AR750 Battery
  • Because of the ill repute of "vulgar" literature at the time, it is believed Wu published the novel anonymously. For over three centuries most of China remained unaware of its authorship, although the people of his hometown attributed the novel to him early on.[3] Sony VGN-AR750E/B Battery
  • Still, the novel's authorship is not certain, as the novel was published anonymously, and Wu did not reference the work in any other of his writings.[3] However, several scholars' textual analysis and research of Qing Dynasty records suggests that he may have been the author,[1] Sony VGN-AR75UDB Battery
  • and a 1625 gazetteer from Wu's hometown claims him as the author.[3] Still, there remains doubts to the author of the novel. Translator W.F.J. Jenner, for example, points out that although Wu had knowledge of Chinese bureaucracy and politics, the novel itself doesn't include any political details that "a fairly well-read commoner could not have known."[4] Sony VGN-AR760 Battery
  • Furthermore, it is unknown how much of the novel Wu or whoever the true author was actually created, and how much he simply compiled and edited, since much of the legend behind Journey to the West already existed in folk tales.[4Sony VGN-AR760U/B Battery

] Nevertheless, the Journey to the West is the most authoritative version of these stories, as no competing story has appeared since they were compiled in this novel,[4] and Wu has become inextricably linked with the book and is seen as the generally accepted author, even if some doubts remain.[1] Sony VGN-AR770 Battery

Other works

  • In addition to Journey to the West, Wu wrote numerous poems and stories (including the novel Yuding Animals, which includes a preface by Wu), although most have been lost. Sony VGN-AR770CU Battery
  • Some of his work survives because, after his death, a family member gathered as many manuscripts as he could find and compiled them into four volumes, entitled Remaining Manuscripts of Mr. Sheyang.[1] Some of his poetry was included in contemporary anthologies such as A Digest of Ming Poetry and A Record of Ming Poetry.[1] Sony VGN-AR770E Battery
  • Both his poetry and his prose have been described as "stubborn" and critical of society's corruption, and in one of his few surviving poems Wu describes himself as having a "defiant spirit.[1] Sony VGN-AR790 Battery
  • Wu's poetry focused on the expression of emotions, and for this reason his work has been compared to that of Li Bai,[5] although even the poems that he published with his name attached still were not quite modeled on the classical styles (although they were not as "vulgar" as Journey to the West).[1] Sony VGN-AR790U/B Battery
  • In addition to using his writing to critique society, Wu also took pride in the worldly nature of his work, as opposed to the more fantastic writings of some contemporaries; in the preface to Yuding Animals he wrote, "My book does not just deal with the supernatural; it deals with the foibles of men too."[1] Sony VGN-AR810 Battery
  • Wu was born in Lianshui, in Jiangsu province, and later moved to nearby Huaian.[2][1][3] Wu's father, Wu Rui, had had a good primary education and "shown an aptitude for study,"[1] Sony VGN-AR810E Battery
  • but ultimately spent his life as an artisan because of his family's financial difficulties. Nevertheless, Wu Rui continued to "devote himself to literary pursuits," and as a child Wu acquired the same enthusiasm for literature—including classical literature, popular stories, and anecdotes.[1][3] Sony VGN-AR820 Battery
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  • He took the imperial examinations several times in attempt to become a mandarin, or imperial official, but never passed, and did not gain entry into the imperial university in Nanjing until middle age; after that he did become an official and had postings in both Beijing[4] Sony VGN-AR825 Battery
  • and Changxing County,[1] but he did not enjoy his work, and eventually resigned, probably spending the rest of his life writing stories and poems in his hometown.[1] During this time he became an accomplished writer, Sony VGN-AR830 Battery
  • producing both poetry and prose, and became friends with several prominent contemporary writers. Wu remained poor throughout his life, however, and did not have any children;[3] dissatisfied with the political climate of the time and with the corruption of the world, he spent much of his life as a hermit.[ Sony VGN-AR830E Battery
  • Bingxin was born into a patriotic family in Fuzhou, Fujian, but moved to the coastal port city of Yantai, Shandong, with her family when she was four. Such a move had a crucial influence on Bingxin's personality and philosophy of love and beauty, Sony VGN-AR83S Battery
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  • as the vastness and beauty of the sea greatly expanded and refined young Bingxin's mind and heart. It was also in Yantai Bingxin first began to read the classics of Chinese literature, such as Romance of Three Kingdoms and Water Margin, when she was just seven. Sony VGN-AR840 Battery
  • In 1913, Bingxin moved to Beijing. The May Fourth Movement in 1919 inspired and elevated Bingxin's patriotism to new high levels, starting her writing career as she wrote for a school newspaper at Yanjing University where she was enrolled as a student and published her first novel. Sony VGN-AR840E Battery
  • Bingxin graduated from Yanjing University in 1923 with a Bachelor's Degree, and went to the United States to study at Wellesley College, earning a Master's Degree at Wellesley in literature in 1926. Sony VGN-AR84S Battery
  • She then returned to Yanjing University to teach until 1936. In 1929, she married Wu Wenzao, an anthropologist and her good friend when they were studying in the United States. Sony VGN-AR84US Battery
  • Together, Bingxin and her husband visited different intellectual circles around the world, communicating with other intellectuals such as Virginia Woolf. Later in her life, Bingxin taught in Japan for a short period and stimulated more cultural communications between China and the other parts of the world as a traveling Chinese writer. Sony VGN-AR850 Battery
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  • in literature, Bingxin founded the "Bingxin Style" as a new literary style. She contributed a lot to children's literature in China (her writings were even incorporated into children's textbooks), Sony VGN-AR85US Battery
  • and also undertook various translation tasks, including the translation of the works of Indian literary figure Rabindranath Tagore. Bingxin's literary career was a really prolific and productive one, and she wrote a wide range of works----prose, poetry, novels, reflections, etc. Her career spanned more than seven decades in length, from 1919 to the 1990s. Sony VGN-AR870 Battery,Sony VGN-AR870EA Battery,Sony VGN-AR870NA Battery,Sony VGN-AR870NB Battery,Sony VGN-AR870NC Battery,Sony VGN-AR870ND Battery,Sony VGN-AR890 Battery,Sony VGN-AR890U Battery,Sony VGN-AR93S Battery

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