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Une lecture chinoise d’Arnold Toynbee: Zhang Junmai et le problème de la continuité historique de la culture chinoise


Ciaudo, Joseph (2016). Une lecture chinoise d’Arnold Toynbee: Zhang Junmai et le problème de la continuité historique de la culture chinoise. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 70(1):1-11.

Abstract

The historical continuity of Chinese culture from the early dynasties to modern times is a common topic in Chinese “culturalist discourses”. The intellectuals who wanted to defend the legitimacy of a Chinese culture compatible with modernity almost never put it into question. Zhang Junmai (1887–1969), in a short book entitled the Chinese culture of tomorrow (1936) had the same attitude toward the problem. He spoke about the ‘four thousand years of Chinese civilization’. However, taking this stand is not without raising issues, for Zhang begins his text by building his theory of cultures upon many ideas defended by Arnold Toynbee, in his major work A study of History (1931). As a matter of fact, Toynbee used to divide the history of China into two periods: the Sinic society, and the Far Eastern society. In introducing Toynbee’s studies in China, did Zhang purposely change important aspects of the Study or was he simply lost in translation? Incidentally, was quoting Toynbee simply instrumental in Zhang’s discourse? These are the main questions this research note aims at tackling.

Abstract

The historical continuity of Chinese culture from the early dynasties to modern times is a common topic in Chinese “culturalist discourses”. The intellectuals who wanted to defend the legitimacy of a Chinese culture compatible with modernity almost never put it into question. Zhang Junmai (1887–1969), in a short book entitled the Chinese culture of tomorrow (1936) had the same attitude toward the problem. He spoke about the ‘four thousand years of Chinese civilization’. However, taking this stand is not without raising issues, for Zhang begins his text by building his theory of cultures upon many ideas defended by Arnold Toynbee, in his major work A study of History (1931). As a matter of fact, Toynbee used to divide the history of China into two periods: the Sinic society, and the Far Eastern society. In introducing Toynbee’s studies in China, did Zhang purposely change important aspects of the Study or was he simply lost in translation? Incidentally, was quoting Toynbee simply instrumental in Zhang’s discourse? These are the main questions this research note aims at tackling.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 70 (2016) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Language:French
Date:2016
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 10:50
Last Modified:23 Jan 2017 10:50
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0004-4717
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2015-0052

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