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Creating the New ManFrom Enlightenment Ideals to Socialist Realities$
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Yinghong Cheng

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824830748

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824830748.001.0001

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From the Enlightenment to the Soviet New Man

From the Enlightenment to the Soviet New Man

(p.8) One From the Enlightenment to the Soviet New Man
Creating the New Man

Yinghong Cheng

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the creation of the Soviet Man, the first such communist new man in world history. The concept of the new man, or the idea of remaking people, together with a belief in human malleability facilitated by environmental determinism, originated in the Enlightenment and was first tested in the French Revolution. During the nineteenth century, Marxism and especially the Russian radical intelligentsia further developed this idea with more specific ideological and moral attributes. At the turn of the twentieth century, Vladimir Lenin conceptualized the idea and shifted its emphasis from creating revolutionary vanguards to educating the masses; he also stressed the necessity of using “consciousness” to replace “spontaneity.” The Russian Revolution then allowed the first nationwide experiment of remolding people; the institutions and methods introduced for that purpose were inherited by socialist countries established later.

Keywords:   Soviet Man, communist new man, Enlightenment, French Revolution, Marxism, Russian radical intelligentsia, Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin

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