CLASSICAL POETRY IN MODERN POLITICS: LIU YAZI’S PR CAMPAIGN FOR MAO ZEDONG
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This paper provides a case study of the use of classical poetry in modern politics, through the close reading of Mao Zedong’s lyric song “Snow” (1936) and Liu Yazi’s matching poem (1945), and through the close examination of their contexts, including the political background, social circulation, media controversy, and cultural political implication. The diverging interpretations of Mao’s poem, expressed through dozens of matching poems, reveal the charm as well as the danger of using classical poetry, which relates the author’s persona to historical models and offers opportunities of prognostication for the future. It also shows the vitality of classical poetry in our modern era, in a way that cannot be replaced by vernacular literature.
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