Shifting Culture Revival, Revolution or Ruin
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A further sign of the diminished stress placed on judgment is the Romantic attitude to form: if poetry must be spontaneous, sincere, intense, it should be fashioned primarily according to the dictates of the creative imagination. Hand in hand with the new conception of poetry and the insistence on a new subject matter went a demand for new ways of writing. It could not be, for them, the language of feeling, and Wordsworth accordingly sought to bring the language of poetry back to that of common speech.
Nevertheless, when he published his preface to Lyrical Ballads in , the time was ripe for a change: the flexible diction of earlier 18th-century poetry had hardened into a merely conventional language. Useful as it is to trace the common elements in Romantic poetry, there was little conformity among the poets themselves. It is misleading to read the poetry of the first Romantics as if it had been written primarily to express their feelings.
Their concern was rather to change the intellectual climate of the age. William Blake had been dissatisfied since boyhood with the current state of poetry and what he considered the irreligious drabness of contemporary thought. His early development of a protective shield of mocking humour with which to face a world in which science had become trifling and art inconsequential is visible in the satirical An Island in the Moon written c. His desire for renewal encouraged him to view the outbreak of the French Revolution as a momentous event.
In works such as The Marriage of Heaven and Hell —93 and Songs of Experience , he attacked the hypocrisies of the age and the impersonal cruelties resulting from the dominance of analytic reason in contemporary thought.
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Blake developed these ideas in the visionary narratives of Milton —08 and Jerusalem — Here, still using his own mythological characters, he portrayed the imaginative artist as the hero of society and suggested the possibility of redemption from the fallen or Urizenic condition. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge , meanwhile, were also exploring the implications of the French Revolution.
Wordsworth, who lived in France in —92 and fathered an illegitimate child there, was distressed when, soon after his return, Britain declared war on the republic, dividing his allegiance. For the rest of his career, he was to brood on those events, trying to develop a view of humanity that would be faithful to his twin sense of the pathos of individual human fates and the unrealized potentialities in humanity as a whole.
His investigation of the relationship between nature and the human mind continued in the long autobiographical poem addressed to Coleridge and later titled The Prelude —99 in two books; in five books; in 13 books; revised continuously and published posthumously, The Prelude constitutes the most significant English expression of the Romantic discovery of the self as a topic for art and literature.
Simultaneously, his poetic output became sporadic. The work of both poets was directed back to national affairs during these years by the rise of Napoleon. In Wordsworth dedicated a number of sonnets to the patriotic cause. The death in of his brother John, who was a captain in the merchant navy , was a grim reminder that, while he had been living in retirement as a poet, others had been willing to sacrifice themselves. From this time the theme of duty was to be prominent in his poetry.
Both Wordsworth and Coleridge benefited from the advent in of the Regency, which brought a renewed interest in the arts. Biographia Literaria , an account of his own development, combined philosophy and literary criticism in a new way and made an enduring and important contribution to literary theory. His later religious writings made a considerable impact on Victorian readers.
Sir Walter Scott , by contrast, was thought of as a major poet for his vigorous and evocative verse narratives The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Marmion Other verse writers were also highly esteemed. Leaving the country in grinding poverty would do no favours to the positive legacy of the Cultural Revolution, which Mao worked hard to protect. Deng's return set the scene for a protracted factional struggle between the radical Gang of Four and moderates led by Zhou and Deng. At the time, Jiang Qing and associates held effective control of mass media and the party's propaganda network, while Zhou and Deng held control of most government organs.
On some decisions, Mao sought to mitigate the Gang's influence, but on others, he acquiesced to their demands. The Gang of Four's heavy hand in political and media control did not prevent Deng from reinstating his economic policies. Deng emphatically opposed Party factionalism, and his policies aimed to promote unity as the first step to restoring economic productivity.
Much like the post-Great Leap restructuring led by Liu Shaoqi, Deng streamlined the railway system, steel production, and other vital areas of the economy. By late however, Mao saw that Deng's economic restructuring might negate the legacy of the Cultural Revolution, and launched a campaign to oppose "rehabilitating the case for the rightists", alluding to Deng as the country's foremost "rightist".
Mao directed Deng to write self-criticisms in November , a move lauded by the Gang of Four. On January 8, , Zhou Enlai died of bladder cancer.
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On January 15 Deng Xiaoping delivered Zhou's official eulogy in a funeral attended by all of China's most senior leaders with the notable absence of Mao himself, who had grown increasingly critical of Zhou. The Gang of Four grew apprehensive that spontaneous, large-scale popular support for Zhou could turn the political tide against them. They acted through the media to impose a set of restrictions on overt public displays of mourning for Zhou. Years of resentment over the Cultural Revolution, the public persecution of Deng Xiaoping seen as Zhou's ally , and the prohibition against public mourning led to a rise in popular discontent against Mao and the Gang of Four.
Official attempts to enforce the mourning restrictions included removing public memorials and tearing down posters commemorating Zhou's achievements. On March 25, , Shanghai's Wen Hui Bao published an article calling Zhou "the capitalist roader inside the Party [who] wanted to help the unrepentant capitalist roader [Deng] regain his power". These propaganda efforts at smearing Zhou's image, however, only strengthened public attachment to Zhou's memory. On April 4, , on the eve of China's annual Qingming Festival , a traditional day of mourning, thousands of people gathered around the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Zhou Enlai.
The people of Beijing honored Zhou by laying wreaths, banners, poems, placards, and flowers at the foot of the Monument. A small number of slogans left at Tiananmen even attacked Mao himself, and his Cultural Revolution. Up to two million people may have visited Tiananmen Square on April 4. Those who participated were motivated by a mixture of anger over the treatment of Zhou, revolt against the Cultural Revolution and apprehension for China's future.
The event did not appear to have coordinated leadership but rather seemed to be a reflection of public sentiment. The Central Committee, under the leadership of Jiang Qing, labelled the event 'counter-revolutionary' and cleared the square of memorial items shortly after midnight on April 6. Attempts to suppress the mourners led to a violent riot. Police cars were set on fire, and a crowd of over , people forced its way into several government buildings surrounding the square.
Similar incidents occurred in other major cities. Jiang Qing and her allies pinned Deng Xiaoping as the incident's 'mastermind', and issued reports on official media to that effect. Deng was formally stripped of all positions "inside and outside the Party" on April 7. This marked Deng's second purge in ten years. On September 9, , Mao Zedong died. To Mao's supporters, his death symbolized the loss of the revolutionary foundation of Communist China. When his death was announced on the afternoon of September 9, in a press release entitled "A Notice from the Central Committee, the NPC, State Council, and the CMC to the whole Party, the whole Army and to the people of all nationalities throughout the country",  the nation descended into grief and mourning, with people weeping in the streets and public institutions closing for over a week.
Hua Guofeng chaired the Funeral Committee. Shortly before dying, Mao had allegedly written the message "With you in charge, I'm at ease", to Hua. Hua used this message to substantiate his position as successor. Hua had been widely considered to be lacking in political skill and ambitions, and seemingly posed no serious threat to the Gang of Four in the race for succession. However, the Gang's radical ideas also clashed with influential elders and a large segment of party reformers. With army backing and the support of Marshal Ye Jianying , on October 6, the Special Unit had all members of the Gang of Four arrested in a bloodless coup.
Although Hua Guofeng publicly denounced the Gang of Four in , he continued to invoke Mao's name to justify Mao-era policies.
Hua spearheaded what became known as the Two Whatevers ,  namely, "Whatever policy originated from Chairman Mao, we must continue to support," and "Whatever directions were given to us from Chairman Mao, we must continue to follow. It became increasingly clear to Hua that, without Deng Xiaoping, it was difficult to continue daily affairs of state. On October 10, Deng Xiaoping personally wrote a letter to Hua asking to be transferred back to state and party affairs; party elders also called for Deng's return.
With increasing pressure from all sides, Hua named Deng Vice-Premier in July , and later promoted him to various other positions, effectively catapulting Deng to China's second-most powerful figure.
Hu published an article in the Guangming Daily , making clever use of Mao's quotations while lauding Deng's ideas. Following this article, Hua began to shift his tone in support of Deng. At the congress, Deng called for "a liberation of thoughts" and urged the party to " seek truth from facts " and abandon ideological dogma. The Plenum officially marked the beginning of the economic reform era. Hua Guofeng engaged in self-criticism and called his "Two Whatevers" a mistake. Wang Dongxing , a trusted ally of Mao, was also criticized. At the Plenum, the Party reversed its verdict on the Tiananmen Incident.
Disgraced former leader Liu Shaoqi was allowed a belated state funeral. At the Fifth Plenum held in , Peng Zhen , He Long and other leaders who had been purged during the Cultural Revolution were politically rehabilitated. Hu Yaobang became head of the party as its General-Secretary.