Rousseau and His Chinese ‘Apprentices’: Interpretation, Adaption and Internalisation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Thoughts in Late Qing China in the Realm of Literature and Social Concepts through Intellectual Elites

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Rousseau and His Chinese ‘Apprentices’: Interpretation, Adaption and Internalisation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Thoughts in Late Qing China in the Realm of Literature and Social Concepts through Intellectual Elites

Title: Rousseau and His Chinese ‘Apprentices’: Interpretation, Adaption and Internalisation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Thoughts in Late Qing China in the Realm of Literature and Social Concepts through Intellectual Elites
Author: Peng, Wenxuan
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: Rousseau, China, Late Qing, Modernisation, Literature, Intellectuals
Abstract: It is simply undeniable that Jean-Jacques Rousseau played his vital part inspiring the world to modernisation, including China. There is also no gainsaying the fact that he had countless ‘apprentices’ in late Qing China, and apparently many Chinese intellectual elites during that period thought so as well. In the field of literature, Émile, ou de l'éducation inspired Chinese intellectual circle, especially realms of literature and publication, and stirred up a trend of ‘novel of education’. In addition, Rousseau’s writings and his image frequently appeared in the new-styled prints in late Qing China. Yet if we make a general survey of Chinese history evolving towards the point of modernisation and afterwards, the course of history in China was essentially advancing forward in its own way. All in all, I will claim that the interpretation, misinterpretation and internalisation of Rousseau’s thoughts in China was a highly complex progress. The new community of modern intellectuals in late Qing China took and adapted what they needed from Rousseau without pursuing Rousseau’s original intention, and such tendency and the transformation of the men of knowledge themselves were underlain by both the macro framework of Chinese society and the internal development within Chinese society that had started several centuries before the Western impact.
Supervisor: Smith, P.J.
Faculty: Faculty of HumanitiesResearch master thesis
Department: Literary Studies (Research master)
ECTS Credits: 25
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52052
 

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