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Philology, National Essence, And The Emergence Of A Nationalist Language Policy

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Chapter Summary

From the beginning, the revolutionary movement of the Lower Yangzi region was marked by large number of highly educated young men. This included a number of renowned philologists from the famous academies of evidential scholarship. During and after the Russo-Japanese War, the radical circles took up the idea of "national essence". Large parts of the efforts of the national essence school were devoted to the creation of an alternative antiquity that freed them from the need to identify themselves with China's subdued and poor present or to rely on the same models of the past adhered to by the Qing government and Japan. Deng Shi, the mastermind and founder of the school, declared the Chinese classical language to be at the heart of China's national heritage. However, it was Zhang Binglin who pursued the study of language as an autonomous area of scholarship and developed an independent nationalist language policy.

Keywords:Chinese classical language; Lower Yangzi region; national essence school; nationalist language policy; philologists; Qing government; revolutionary movement; Russo-Japanese War; Zhang Binglin



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