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Enlightenment And National Salvation: The Politics Of A Liberal Nationalist

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Chapter Summary

The most influential theses about modern Chinese liberalism were put forward in the 1980s by Li Zehou. The revival of the feudal traditional Chinese culture was possible because the modern Chinese project of Enlightenment as represented in the New Culture and May Fourth Movement had been hijacked by the call for &t;national salvation&t; as embraced by nationalism as well as socialism, which anticipated the dictatorial collectivism of the Cultural Revolution. A comparison of Hu Shi and Lu Xun's political attitude in the Republican period highlights the fact that the real liberal question is whether the liberal critic is vigilant towards the erosion of liberal principles while engaged in the discourses of national salvation and nation-building. Lin Yutang took a liberal nationalist attitude towards imperialism. Pearl S. Buck grew up in China and her novel The Good Earth published in 1931 became a runaway bestseller in America.

Keywords: China; Hu Shi; Li Zehou; liberal nationalist; Lin Yutang; modern Chinese liberalism; national salvation; Pearl S. Buck; The Good Earth

10.1163/ej.9789004192133.i-272.13
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