Chen Pingyuan is professor of Chinese Literature at Peking University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. His major works include “The Literati’s Chivalric Dreams” and “The Establishment of Modern Scholarship in China”. Chen is known for his re-evaluation of the history of modern Chinese literature. He proved the importance of traditional Chinese elements as well as Western literature and modernity in the development of modern Chinese literature. An interview with him appears in the book One China, Many Paths, so one might assumes that he has new left leanings, but these are not immediately obvious from his scholarship. He is generally known as a liberal scholar.
- Chen, Pingyuan. Sept Lecons Sur Le Roman Et La Culture Modernes En Chine. Trans. Isabella Rabut and Angel Pino. Leiden: Brill Academic Pub, 2014.
- Chen, Pingyuan. Touches of History: An Entry into ‘May Fourth’ China. 2 Vol. Trans. Michel Hockx. Boston; Leiden: Brill, 2011.
Touches of History returns to a study of May Fourth grounded in historical materials. Favoring 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.
- Chen, Pingyuan. “Becoming Attached to Dushu.” Contemporary Chinese Thought, 31.4 (2000): 18-31.
- Chen, Pingyuan. “International Perspective and Homeland Feelings: My View on Universities.” Chinese Education & Society, 37.6 (2004): 98-103.
“Do universities merely turn out qualified products — people with bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D.s and some specialized knowledge? Or should they merge with and influence the cultural ideals and spiritual life of today’s Chinese? The author shares his views on universities and their purposes.”
- Chen, Pingyuan. “Destiny and Options of Contemporary Chinese Scholars of the Humanities.” Contemporary Chinese Thought. 29.2 (2014): 5-28.
“‘Scholar of the Humanities’ is not a title of honor; rather, it is a choice of profession. Hence, those “erstwhile scholars” who have already gone into politics or business are not discussed in the present article. Instead of touching on such hot topics as professors selling meat pies, buying and selling automobiles, entering people’s political consultative conferences, or taking government posts, this article considers the destiny and possible options of scholars who are willing to engage in humanity studies and are still doing so, for the latter are more perplexed and more at loss and deserve more understanding and sympathy.”
- Chen, Pingyuan. “A Century of Changes at Beida as I See them.” Chinese Education & Society 38.1 (2005): 8-17.
Provides a narrative of the eight big and small changes in Peking University’s history to provide necessary background for today’s discussions on Beida reform. This article builds on the author’s book Ten Discourses on China’s Universities (Zhongguo daxue shi jiang [Fudan University Publishing House, 2002]) and article “Three Queries About Universities” (“Daxue san wen,” Shu cheng, no. 7, 2003).
- Chen, Pingyuan. “Taste and Resistance: Lu Xun’s Scholarly Style and Its Reception.” Frontiers of literary studies in China. 1.2 (2007): 213-249.
Lu Xun’s achievements as a philosopher and writer were confirmed, but little attention has been paid to him as a scholar. Admittedly, the revolutionary nature of his “A Brief History of Chinese Fiction” (中国小说史略) 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).
- Chen, Pingyuan. “An Audible China: Speech and the Innovation in Modern Chinese Writing.” Frontier of Literary Studies in China. 3.2. (2009): 270-320.
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 mainly discusses 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).
Collections and book chapters
- Chen, Pingyuan. “From Popular Science to Science Fiction: An Investigation of ‘Flying Machines’.” Translation and Creation: Readings of Western Literature in Early Modern China, 1840-1918. Ed. David E. Pollard. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 1998. 209-239.
- Chen, Pingyuan. “Literature High and Low:‘Popular Fiction Twentieth-century China.” The Literary Filed of Twentieth-Century China. Ed. Michel Hockx. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999. 113-133.
- Chen, Pingyuan. (2014). “Wenxue” in the Purview of Late Qing Encyclopaedias and Textbooks: With a Focus on Huang Ren’s Activities as Compiler. Chinese Encyclopaedias of New Global Knowledge (1870-1930). Ed. M. Doleželová-Velingerová and R. G. Wagner. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 2014. 239–287.
- Chen, Pingyuan. “Transformation of ‘High’ and ‘Low’ Distinctions in Literature: The Success of Jin Yong and the Future of Martial Arts Novels.” Trans. Carlos Rojas. The Jin Yong Phenomenon: Chinese Martial Arts Fiction and Modern Chinese. Ed. Ann Huss and Jianmei Liu. New York: Cambria Press, 2007. 55-72.
- Wang, Chaohua interview with Chen Pingyuan. “Scholarship, Ideas, Politics.” One China, Many Paths. By Wang Chaohua. NY: Verso (2003): 108-127. Print.
- Chang Chin-ju. “A Dialog with May Fourth-Chen Pingyuan.” Interview with Chen Pingyuan. Trans. Robert Taylor. Taiwan Panorama July 1999: Print.
Translations and videos on web sources
Cai Yiwen, “Q&A With Chen Pingyuan on the Future of China’s Universities.” Sixth Tone, December 24, 2016.