Hu Shi

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Hu Shih (simplified Chinese: 胡适; traditional Chinese: 胡適; pinyin: Hú Shì, 17 December 1891 — 24 February 1962), born Hu Hung-hsing (Chinese: 胡洪騂; pinyin: Hú Hóngxīng), was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat. His courtesy name was Shih-chih (Chinese: 適之; pinyin: Shìzhī). Hu is widely recognized today as a key contributor to Chinese liberalism and language reform in his advocacy for the use of vernacular Chinese. He was also an influential Redology scholar and held the famous Jiaxu manuscript (Chinese: 甲戌本; pinyin: Jiǎxū běn) for many years until his death.

Contents

Biography

Hu was born in Shanghai to Hu Chuan (Chinese: 胡傳; pinyin: Hú Chuán) and Feng Shundi (Chinese: 馮順弟; pinyin: Féng Shùndì). His ancestors were from Jixi, Anhui. In January 1904, his family established an arranged marriage for Hu with Chiang Tung-hsiu (Chinese: 江冬秀; pinyin: Jiāng Dōngxiù), an illiterate girl with bound feet who was one year older than he was. The marriage took place in December 1917. Hu received his fundamental education in Jixi and Shanghai.

Hu became a "national scholar" through funds appropriated from the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program. On 16 August 1910, he was sent to study agriculture at Cornell University in the United States. In 1912 he changed his major to philosophy and literature. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he went to Columbia University to study philosophy. At Columbia he was greatly influenced by his professor, John Dewey, and Hu became Dewey's translator and a lifelong advocate of pragmatic evolutionary change, helping Dewey in his 1919-1921 lectures series in China. He returned to lecture in Peking University. During his tenure there, he received support from Chen Duxiu, editor of the influential journal New Youth, quickly gaining much attention and influence. Hu soon became one of the leading and influential intellectuals during the May Fourth Movement and later the New Culture Movement.

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