Wang Guowei

Wang Guowei

Wang Guowei (zh-tsw|t=王國維|s=王国维|w=Wang Kuowei) (December 2 1877June 2 1927), courtesy name Jingan (靜安) or Baiyu (伯隅), was a Chinese scholar, writer and poet. A versatile and original scholar, he made important contributions to the studies of ancient history, epigraphy, philology, vernacular literature and literary theory.

A native of Haining, Zhejiang, he went to Shanghai to work as a proofreader for a newspaper, after failing to pass the Imperial Examination in his hometown, at the age of 22. There he studied in the Dongwen Xueshe (東文學社), a Japanese language teaching school, and became a protégé of Luo Zhenyu. Sponsared by Luo, he left for Japan in 1901, studying natural sciences in Tokyo. Back in China one year later, he began to teach in different colleges, and devoted himself to the study of German idealism. He fled to Japan with Luo when the Xinhai Revolution took place in 1911. He returned to China in 1916, but remained loyal to the overthrown Manchu emperor. In 1924, he was appointed professor by the Tsinghua University. In 1927, he drowned himself in Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace before the revolutionary army entered Beijing.

Wang focused on the studies of Chinese vernacular literature during the early year of his career. He used Schopenhauer's philosophy for the criticism of the novel "Dream of the Red Chamber", as well as writing a concise history of the theaters of the Song and Yuan dynasties. Later he changed his academic direction, focusing on philology and ancient history. He was the Chinese first scholar to combine the data provided by new archaeological findings (e.g. oracle bones) and those by ancient texts for the use of studying ancient Chinese history. His works concerning ancient history and philology are collected in "Guantang Jilin" (觀堂集林).


*Chen, Gongrou and Wang, Shimin [ "Wang Guowei"] . "Encyclopedia of China" (Archeology Edition), 1st ed.
*Keping Wang, 'Wang Guowei: Philosophy of Aesthetic Criticism'. In Zhongying Cheng and Nicholas Bunnin (eds.) "Contemporary Chinese Philosophy", Blackwell, 2002.

External links

*zh icon [ Biography and bibliography]
*zh icon [ Biography]

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