Chen Pingyuan


Chen Pingyuan
b. 1954, Chaozhou, Guangdong
Literary theorist
Chen Pingyuan is a literary scholar and Peking University professor whose innovative work on twentieth-century Chinese literature greatly influenced the field of Chinese studies and humanities research. Chen Pingyuan has contributed to Chinese scholarship in two important ways. Beginning with his PhD thesis in 1987, his meticulous and in-depth research methods have become a model to students and scholars alike. His wide-ranging research is entirely based on original material, which he references in a clear and detailed manner and encompasses the history of Chinese fiction and prose, theories of narrative, Ming and Qing prose, genre theory, literature and learning, popular fiction and martial arts fiction
Second, Chen is known for his groundbreaking re-evaluation of the history of modern Chinese literature. He was the first literary scholar to introduce a division of modern Chinese literature based on influences other than political ones. Instead, he proved the importance of traditional Chinese elements as well as Western literature and modernity in the development of modern Chinese literature. Also of importance is his new history of the May Fourth movement. As a study of the relationship between image and text, it includes hitherto unknown and unconventional materials such as newspaper clippings and photographs and offers a novel approach to this important period in modern Chinese history. Chen’s scholarship is also marked by a dynamic exchange with experts from Europe, the USA and Japan, which has further established his reputation as a leading scholar in the field.
Chen, Ping-yuan (1999). ‘Literature High and Low: Popular Fiction in Twentieth-Century China’. In Michel Hockx (ed), The Literary Field of Twentieth-Century China. Richmond: Curzon, 113–34.
(2003). ‘Scholarship, Ideas, Politics’. In Wang Chaohua (ed.), One China, Many Paths. London: Verso, 108–27.
BIRGIT LINDER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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