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The Chinese version of “intellectual”

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

The source, evolution, application and characteristics of the Chinese concept “zhishi fenzi” 知识分子 are well worth further exploration. Meanwhile, the development and meaning of the Western concept “intellectual” throughout the history are discussed in the article to provide better understanding of its historical evolution and theoretical researches, and to reveal misunderstanding and mistaken views about this concept in China’s academic circles. The disparity between the concept of “zhishi fenzi” in China and in the West lies in not only the history of concept but also that of thought whereas the translation of “intellectual” into “zhishi fenzi” is the problem of understanding. The concept history of “zhishi fenzi” clearly shows that it is a self-contained notion that can stand alone with its Chinese source and characteristics.


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