Dragon in Ambush: The Art of War in the Poems of Mao Zedong

Ingalls, Jeremy

Published by Lexington Books, 2013
ISBN 10: 0739177826 / ISBN 13: 9780739177822
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Synopsis: Dragon in Ambush by Jeremy Ingalls is a critique and new translation of the first twenty poems of Mao Zedong’s published poetry. This seminal work stands out from previous translations of Mao’s poems in seeing them as an expression of his core political beliefs, rather than for their poetic effect. Instead, Dr. Ingalls shows in consummate detail that Mao was careful and deliberate in employing imagery in his poetry to lay out procedures for political supremacy in which the central drive was his will to psychological domination. That is, domination of the minds of others is the unifying theme of Mao’s verse-sequence.

The crux of Prof. Ingalls’ work lies in her focus on the symbolism in the poems. The poems are, in Mao’s use of them as a means of communication, meaningless on their surface. No image, however seemingly commonplace, is ever employed for merely lyrical or aesthetic description. Every image functions as a factor in an entirely political calculus. According to Dr. Ingalls, “When Mao mentions streams or mountains, suns or moons, clouds or winds or icicles, horses, elephants, snakes, tigers, leopards or bears, specifies kinds of trees or birds or fish, flies, brooms, mats or bridges, these and all his other images have, as their primary function, neither happenstance descriptions nor whimsical metaphor. They all have politically symbolic functions in Mao’s algebra of versified political discourse.”

Furthermore, in her analysis, Prof. Ingalls downplays the significance of Marxism-Leninism in the Thought of Mao Zedong. She shows that throughout his career, Mao regarded Marxism-Leninism as a political convenience, not as a doctrine permanently essential to his master-plan. Just as Mao used the Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek and Stalin’s Soviet Union as means to further his own political ambitions, so did he manipulate Marxist-Leninist ideology to hoodwink and attract, at home and abroad, professional revolutionaries to help do his bidding. Mao’s aims express, in their worldviews, an entirely Chinese tradition. In his poems Mao’s dialectics, his materialism, and his authoritarianism all take their points of reference from within the Chinese cultural order. Dragon in Ambush is a thoroughly unique and revolutionary approach to understanding the Mind of Mao Zedong.

About the Author: Brief Biography of Author: Jeremy Ingalls

Jeremy Ingalls was a well-known American poet, scholar, editor, and translator. She was born April 2, 1911, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she attended Tufts University earning a B.A. (1932) and an M.A. (1933). She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature and Letters (Litt.D.) from Tufts University in 1965. Dr. Ingalls carried out post-graduate studies at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, 1945-47. Throughout the 1940s and 50s she taught at the University of Chicago, Western College in Oxford, Ohio, and at Rockford College, Illinois, where she was Resident Poet, Professor of Asian Studies, and eventually head of its English Department, 1953-60. She retired 1960 and moved to Tucson, Arizona to become a full-time writer and researcher.

In 1941, she won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize for her book, The Metaphysical Sword. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1943-44), an American Academy of Arts and Letters grant (1944-45), a classical Chinese research fellowship from the Republic of China, Taiwan (1945-47), a Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry (1950), a Lola Ridge Memorial Award for Poetry (1951, 1952), and a Ford Foundation faculty fellowship (1952-53). Other honors included a Fulbright professorship (1957-58) in American literature at Kobe University, Japan, a Rockefeller Foundation lectureship in Kyoto, Japan (1958), a Steinman Foundation lecturer on poetry (1960), and an Asian Foundation delegate to the Republic of (South) Korea in 1964. Jeremy Ingalls died on March 16, 2000, in Tucson, Arizona.

Brief Biography of Editor: Allen Wittenborn

Allen Wittenborn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian Languages and Literature at San Francisco State College (now University) in 1967 where he studied Chinese and Japanese, and a Master of Arts in International Relations at the University of Oregon in 1970. He received his PhD in Asian Studies at the University of Arizona in 1979. During the 1980s, he worked in the travel and tour industry, in China and Southeast Asia as a translator and interpreter. From 1989 to 2007 when he retired, he taught in the departments of History and Asian Studies at San Diego State University. His dissertation, a critique and translation of writings by the philosopher, Zhu Xi, was published as Further Reflections on Things at Hand by University Press of America in 1991. In addition to numerous journal and newspapers articles, Dr. published his first novel, Kokang, in 2012.

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Title: Dragon in Ambush: The Art of War in the ...
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication Date: 2013
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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