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  • Auteur ou Éditeur: Pingyuan Chen x

CHEN Pingyuan

The image of an “audible China” is one opposed to the traditional China’s as “voiceless.” Not only does it refer to the survival of modern Chinese out of the abandoned Classical Chinese, it also provides a new means to examine modern China’s cultural transformation and development in terms of “voice.” This essay will discuss mainly how speech, one of “the three best tools for spreading civilization,” together with newspapers and magazines and schools, contributes to the success of the Vernacular Chinese Movement (Baihuawen yundong 白话文运动, CE 1917–1919) and the innovation in modern Chinese writing (including Chinese academic writing style).

CHEN Pingyuan

Lu Xun’s achievements as a philosopher and writer were confirmed in the twentieth century in China, but little attention has been paid to Lu Xun as a scholar. Admittedly, the revolutionary nature of his A Brief History of Chinese Fiction (Zhongguo xiaoshuo shilüe) has been universally acknowledged in scholarly circles and the book has been quoted in many works. However, Lu Xun’s scholarly ideals, his methods, and the distinctive scholarly style that he employed have not received enough attention. Lu Xun’s choice of a particular scholarly style, as a philosopher, a writer, and a scholar, is closely interrelated with the development of the scholarship in China. This article is therefore limited to Lu Xun and attempts to expose one side of Chinese scholarship that has been overlooked while analyzing the origins and development of Lu Xun’s scholarly style (述学文体 shuxue wenti).

Touches of History

An Entry into 'May Fourth' China

Series:

Pingyuan Chen

The “May Fourth Movement” of 1919 is generally seen as the central event in China’s transformation from the traditional to the modern. It signalled the arrival of effective student activism on the political scene; it heralded the success of outspoken anti-imperialist ideologies; its slogans and pamphlets demonstrated the rhetorical qualities of the new vernacular writing; some of its participants went on to become leading cultural and political figures; it is said to have given birth to the Communist Party. The latter aspect has ensured that a particular narrative of the movement remained enshrined in official Chinese state ideology for many decades, a narrative often opposed by those outside China for similarly ideological reasons. No movement in modern Chinese history and culture has been more researched, yet none has been less understood. This award-winning book, by one of Peking University’s most famous professors, represents a groundbreaking attempt to return to a study of “May Fourth” that is solidly grounded in historical fact. Favouring smaller stories over grand narratives, concentrating on unknown, marginal materials rather than familiar key documents, and highlighting “May Fourth”’s indebtedness to the cultural debates of the preceding late Qing period, Chen Pingyuan reconstructs part of the actual historical scenery, demonstrating the great variety of ideas expressed during those tumultuous decades.