Where Did Our Red Love Go?
Red Love Across the Pacific: Political and Sexual Revolutions of the Twentieth Century

Marsh, John
Date Written:  2016-09-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2016
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21480

Book review of Paula Rabinowitz's, Ruth Barraclough's, and Heather Bowen-Struyk's Red Love Across the Pacific: Political and Sexual Revolutions of the Twentieth Century.



Red Love and its challenge to conventional bourgeois sexual morality did not concern women alone, however, as Heather Bowen-Struyk shows in her chapter on "Comrade Love in Japanese Proletarian Literature," as her subtitle puts it.

At first glance, proletarian literature of the 1930s, with its nearly exclusive focus on male workers as exploited labor and potential revolutionary subjects, often seems to shun love, whether conventional romantic or unconventional Red Love, either of which would only distract from the cause. Through close readings of two classics of Japanese proletarian literature, "The Crab Cannery Ship" (1929) and "The Factory Cell" (1930) by Hayama Yoshiki, Bowen-Struyk challenges this truism, exploring what she calls "comrade love" as a safe but nevertheless new form of Red Love.

By comrade love, Bowen-Struyk writes, she means "the intimacy between comrades in proletarian literature" - and outside of literature, presumably - "that acquired special significance, becoming the locus of emotional attachment in a way that not only does not threaten the esprit de corps of revolutionary struggle (as romance or family might be represented), but, on the contrary, serves to strengthen it."
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