SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Chinnery, John D. (1955) Problems of literary reform in modern China. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (49MB) | Preview


The period following the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1911 was one of rapid economic and social change in China. It created conditions favourable for the development of the New Culture Movement which started during the Great war, and reached its climax in 1919.Two of the basic features of this movement were the introduction of ideas from the West and the reassessment of Chinese traditions from the standpoint of those ideas. The Literary Revolution was an integral part of the New Culture Movement, which, after an initial period of discussion and debate, undertook the task of building a new Chinese literature with a new humanist or revolutionary content, and with forms copied from, or inspired by. Western literature. The problems which this task of construction involved were many and varied. During the next few years the literature of many periods and countries was introduced into China, and the new writers experimented with numerous forms. Ultimately, those which accorded most closely with the needs of Chinese literature, and especially with the social conditions and demands of the Chinese revolution, which had a determining influence on it, were successfully adopted, and fused with the Chinese tradition. The writer who best succeeded in mastering these problems of selection and synthesis was Lu Hsun, who, while benefiting from the example of Western writers, especially Russian, at the same time retained a Chinese character and style, not only through the subject matter of his work, but also from his knowledge and keen appreciation of old Chinese literature.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item