Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 17, 2016

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

Joseph Ciaudo

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.

Funding statement: Funding: Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (Grant / Award Number: “DD023-U-13”).

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Published Online: 2016-3-17
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

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