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The Other Kang Youwei: Calligrapher, Art Activist, and Aesthetic Reformer in Modern China by Aida Yuen Wong (review)

The Other Kang Youwei: Calligrapher, Art Activist, and Aesthetic Reformer in Modern China by Aida... 192 China Review International: Vol. 21, No. 2, 2014 Aida Yuen Wong. The Other Kang Youwei: Calligrapher, Art Activist, and Aesthetic Reformer in Modern China. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016. xvii, 241 pp. Hardcover €79, isbn 987-90-04-29950-4. When the reformer Liang Qichao (1873–1929) recalled his teacher Kang Youwei’s (1858–1927) urgent desire to be original in his scholarship, he wrote: “[Kang] did not hesitate to suppress or distort evidence . . . ; he held [his views] very tena- ciously. As for objective facts which did not suit his purposes, he either ignored them completely or insisted on remolding them to conform to his own view” (p. 33). Originality meant consciously choosing to be different, to be “other — ” and that might mean tinkering with facts and forging new histories. Aida Yuen Wong’s new book pursues this confidently iconoclastic and determinedly original “other” Kang Youwei through deep analysis of previously understudied aspects of Kang’s life — his ink brush, aesthetic sensibility, and arts activism — deft ly moving them from the sidelines of history into a central position and, in doing so, revealing how integral they had always been to Kang’s self-conceptualization and se lf- representation as a revolutionary social thinker. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

The Other Kang Youwei: Calligrapher, Art Activist, and Aesthetic Reformer in Modern China by Aida Yuen Wong (review)

China Review International , Volume 21 (2) – Nov 28, 2016

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9367

Abstract

192 China Review International: Vol. 21, No. 2, 2014 Aida Yuen Wong. The Other Kang Youwei: Calligrapher, Art Activist, and Aesthetic Reformer in Modern China. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016. xvii, 241 pp. Hardcover €79, isbn 987-90-04-29950-4. When the reformer Liang Qichao (1873–1929) recalled his teacher Kang Youwei’s (1858–1927) urgent desire to be original in his scholarship, he wrote: “[Kang] did not hesitate to suppress or distort evidence . . . ; he held [his views] very tena- ciously. As for objective facts which did not suit his purposes, he either ignored them completely or insisted on remolding them to conform to his own view” (p. 33). Originality meant consciously choosing to be different, to be “other — ” and that might mean tinkering with facts and forging new histories. Aida Yuen Wong’s new book pursues this confidently iconoclastic and determinedly original “other” Kang Youwei through deep analysis of previously understudied aspects of Kang’s life — his ink brush, aesthetic sensibility, and arts activism — deft ly moving them from the sidelines of history into a central position and, in doing so, revealing how integral they had always been to Kang’s self-conceptualization and se lf- representation as a revolutionary social thinker.

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 28, 2016

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