M. Cristina Pisciotta
The “Chinese Blok, ” the “Bard of the Russian Revolution, ” Jiang Guangci was born in Liu An, a small village in the province of An Wei. He left his family and traditional studies early on and went to live in Shanghai, where the urgent demands of the May Fourth Movement for profound cultural, political, and social renewal were to make a great impression on his impulsive and impressionable nature.
Life in the southern metropolis with the harsh presence of imperialist powers aroused in Jiang a violent hatred of the Western nations that were placing in crisis the values of freedom and democracy. His growing admiration of Russia—with its October Revolution in particular—made it the only nation capable of both breaking with the past and dismembering the imperialist coalition in eastern Asia. Jiang joined the League of Socialist Youth early in 1920 and was sent to Moscow with a group of young students to “learn the revolution” and live in direct contact with the new reality.
Young Chinese intellectuals at that time knew little about the ideas and historical development of European Marxism (whose theories reached China mainly filtered through Japan) and were interested above all in the cultures of Europe, America, and Japan rather than that of Russia. The continuing civil war, the hunger, and the many difficulties in no way prevented Jiang from seeing in Russia “the land of new hopes.” From 1920 to 1924, during Russia's revolutionary struggle, rebirth, and reconstruction, he led a very intense cultural life, studying in depth the political, philosophical, and literary ideas of the Soviets. Returning to China full of enthusiasm, he conveyed the ideal of the October Revolution and the emerging Soviet society in his first collection of poems, Xin meng (1925). From that moment until his premature death he wrote constantly and prolifically: he was a poet (Zai fenmu jin, 1925; Ai Zhongguo, 1926; Zhan