Karl August Wittfogel  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Karl August Wittfogel (6 September 1896, Woltersdorf - 25 May 1988, New York) was a German-American playwright, historian, and sinologist. Originally a Marxist and an active member of the Communist Party of Germany, after the Second World War Wittfogel was an equally fierce Anticommunist.

Contents

Selected Works (in German)

  • Vom Urkommunismus bis zur proletarischen Revolution, Eine Skizze der Entwicklung der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, 1. Teil: Urkommunismus und Feudalismus, Verlag Junge Garde, Berlin C 2, 1922, 79 p.<ref>Rare with little known John Heartfield cover. The first part is all there is. The Verlag Junge Garde, Berlin C 2 (on Stralauerstrasse 12 in Schöneberg) was the publishers of the Communist Youth International, Kommunistische Jugendinternationale.</ref>
  • Die Wissenschaft der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft. Eine marxistische Untersuchung, Malik, Berlin, 1922
  • Geschichte der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft. Von ihren Anfängen bis zur Schwelle der großen Revolution, Malik, Wien, 1924
  • Das erwachende China, Ein Abriß der Geschichte und der gegenwärtigen Probleme Chinas, AGIS Verlag, Wien, 1926
  • Shanghai- Kanton, Vereinigung Internationale Verlags-Anstalten, Berlin, 1927<ref>In Brussels, February, 1927 the Komintern Liga gegen Imperialismus was founded at a Internationale Kongress gegen Unterdrückung und Kolonialismus. This Congress had been organised by Willi Münzenberg). Wittfogel took part, as did Agnes Smedley. (Source: Sinologie Heidelberg Alumni Netzwerk</ref>
  • Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Chinas, Versuch der wissenschaftlichen Analyse einer großen asiatischen Agrargesellschaft, Hirschfeld, Leipzig, 1931, XXIV, 767 P. (=Schriften des Instituts für Sozialforschung der Universität Frankfurt am Main, No. 3)
  • Die natürlichen Ursachen der Wirtschaftsgeschichte, in: Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, 67, 1932, pp. 466–492, 597-609, 711-731.
  • Die Theorie der orientalischen Gesellschaft, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Vol. 7, No. 1/2, Alcan, Paris, 1938

Interviews

  • “Conversations with Wittfogel”. Telos 43 (Spring 1980). Telos Press, New York.

Plays

  • Julius Haidvogel (= K. A. Wittfogel), Der Krüppel (The Cripple). in: Der Gegner, Vol. 2, Nr. 4, Malik, Berlin, 1920, p. 94ff..
  • Rote Soldaten. Politische Tragödie in fünf Akten (Red Soldiers), Malik, Berlin, 1921
  • Der Mann der eine Idee hat. Erotisches Schauspiel in vier Akten (The Man Who Has an Idea), Malik, Berlin, 1922, and 1933
  • Die Mutter - Der Flüchtling. Zwei Einakter (The Mother & The Refugee, 2 one-act plays, Malik, Berlin, 1922
  • Wer ist der Dümmste? Eine Frage an das Schicksal in einem Vorspiel und vier Akten. (Who is the Biggest Fool?), Malik, Berlin, 1923
    • Gustav von Wangenheim, Da liegt der Hund begraben und andere Stücke, Aus dem Repertoire der Truppe 31, Rowohlt, Reinbek b. Hamburg, 1974
  • Der Wolkenkratzer. Amerikanischer Sketch (The Skyscraper), Malik, 1924<ref>Der Krüppel was performed on October 14, 1920 at Piscator's Proletarischem Theater - Bühnen der revolutionären Arbeiter Groß- Berlins, together with two other short plays under the heading Gegen den weißen Schrecken - für Sowjetrußland, see: Der Gegner. Mit dem satirischen Teil Die Pleite, vol. 2, no. 4, Malik, Berlin, 1920, p. 94- 107. Erwin Piscator's essay Über Grundlagen und Aufgaben des Proletarischen Theaters in the same number on pages 90 to 93. Der Gegner was then edited by Julian Gumperz and Wieland Herzfelde. Rote Soldaten had been scheduled for a second season of the theatre.
Wittfogel also published a theoretical essay on proletarian theatre: Grenzen und Aufgaben der revolutionären Bühnenkunst, Der Gegner, vol. 3, no. 2, Berlin, 1922, p. 39-44.

On the Weimar Proletarian Theatre: Richard Weber, Proletarisches Theater und Revolutionäre Arbeiterbewegung, 2nd. ed., Prometh, Cologne, 1978, P. 85, 96.

One of the final communist Weimar theatre events was Berthold Brecht's "didactic play" on communism, murder and morality, set in China, Die Maßnahme. Wittfogel's review was published in Die Welt am Abend, on Dec. 22, 1930.</ref>

Works (in English)

  • The Foundations and Stages of Chinese Economic History, Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Alcan, Paris, 4, 1935, p. 26-60.
  • New Light on Chinese Society; An Investigation of China's Socio-Economic Structure, Institute of Pacific Relations, New York, 1938
  • The Society of Prehistoric China, Alcan, Paris, 1939
  • Meteorological Records from the Divination Inscriptions of Shang, American Geographical Society (1940)
  • Public Office in the Liao Dynasty and the Chinese Examination System ..., Harvard-Yenching Institute (1947)
  • With Feng Chia-sheng et al., History of Chinese Society, Liao, 907-1125, American Philosophical Society, Transactions. Distributed by the Macmillan Co., New York, 1949
    • With Chia-shêng Fêng and Karl H. Menges, History of Chinese society : Liao (907-1125). Appendix V, Qara-Khitay 1949
  • Russia and Asia : Problems of Contemporary Area Studies and International Relations, 1950
  • Asia's Freedom...and the Land Question 1950
  • The influence of Leninism-Stalinism on China, 1951?

The Review of Politics : The Historical Position of Communist China: Doctrine and Reality, University of Notre Dame Press (1954)

  • Mao Tse-tung, Liberator or Destroyer of the Chinese Peasants?, Free Trade Union Committee, American Federation of Labor, New York, 1955
  • The Hydraulic Civilizations Chicago, 1956
  • Oriental Despotism; a Comparative Study of Total Power Yale University Press, 1957
    • Class Structure and Total Power in Oriental Despotism, 1960
    • Results and Problems of the Study of Oriental Despotism 1969
  • Chinese Society : An Historical Survey, 1957
  • The New Men, Hong Kong, 1958?
  • Food and Society in China and India, New York, 1959
  • Peking's "Independence (1959)
  • The Marxist View of Russian Society and Revolution, 1960
  • Viewer's Guide to From Marx to Mao, University of Washington (1960)
  • The Legend of Maoism, 1960?
  • Class Structure and Total Power in Oriental Despotism, 1960
  • A Stronger Oriental Despotism 1960
  • The Russian and Chinese Revolutions : A Socio-Historical Comparison 1961
  • The Marxist View of China China Quarterly, 1962
  • Agrarian Problems and the Moscow-Peking Axis, 1962
  • A Short History of Chinese Communism, University of Washington, 1964
  • The Chinese Red Guards and the "Lin Piao Line, American-Asian Educational Exchange, Inc. (1967)
  • Results and Problems of the Study of Oriental Despotism 1969
  • Agriculture: a Key to the Understanding of Chinese Society, Past and Present, Australian National University Press, 1970
  • Communist and Non-Communist Agrarian Systems, with Special Reference to the U.S.S.R. and Communist China, a Comparative Approach Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, 1971
  • The Hydraulic Approach to Pre-spanish Mesoamerica, Austin, 1972
  • Some Remarks on Mao's Handling of Concepts and Problems of Dialectics, University of Washington. Far Eastern and Russian Institute, not dated





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