The Info List - Yang Kuan

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YANG KUAN (1914 − September 1, 2005) was a Chinese historian specializing in pre- Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
Chinese history. He is considered an authority of the Warring States period
Warring States period
, and his History of the Warring States, first published in 1955, remains the most authoritative treatment of the subject.


* 1 Early life and education * 2 Doubting Antiquity School * 3 Career * 4 Publications * 5 Later life * 6 References


Yang Kuan was born in Qingpu County, Jiangsu Province (now Qingpu District of Shanghai
) in 1914. He attended the prestigious Suzhou High School , whose teachers included famous scholars Lü Shuxiang
Lü Shuxiang
and Ch\'ien Mu , one of the greatest historians of modern China.

After high school Yang attended Kwang Hua University in Shanghai
− a predecessor of today's East China Normal University − and graduated in 1936 with a degree in Chinese. At Kwang Hua he also studied history under the prominent historian Lü Simian .


Yang Kuan gained fame at a young age. In 1933, aged 19, he published his first essay Probing the Legend of Pangu
. In 1939, just three years after graduating from college, Yang was invited by Gu Jiegang , founder of the Doubting Antiquity School , to contribute to Gu's influential compilation Debates on Ancient History (古史辨). In 1941, Yang's book-size Introduction to China's High Antiquity was published as part of the seventh and last volume of the Debates on Ancient History.

Yang is generally considered a member of the Doubting Antiquity School, as he argued that the pre- Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
history recorded in ancient texts was "historization" of prehistoric mythology, a position that is widely accepted by today's historians. However, he disagreed with Gu Jiegang and Kang Youwei
Kang Youwei
's view that ancient scholars such as Confucius
and Liu Xin deliberately introduced falsehoods into historical texts, and held the opinion that it was a long process of natural evolution of ancient mythology. Gu later changed his position and accepted Yang's view. Yang further differed from Gu in that he also believed that the extant history of the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
was pure mythology.


In 1946 Yang Kuan was appointed curator of Shanghai
Museum , a position he continued to hold after the Communist People\'s Republic of China replaced the Republic of China in 1949. In 1953 he joined the faculty of Shanghai's Fudan University
Fudan University
as a history professor. In 1960 he was made the deputy head of the history department of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences , but returned to Fudan University
Fudan University
in 1970.


Yang Kuan published his most influential work, History of the Warring States, in 1955. In 1980, a greatly expanded second edition was completed, with major revisions based on new archaeological discoveries made during the intervening decades. He made further revisions in the third edition of 1985. This work is widely considered the most authoritative treatment of the subject, and was included in the official China Chronology Series (中国断代史系列). Another work by Yang, History of the Western Zhou, was also included in the series. In total Yang Kuan published more than a dozen books and 225 essays.


In 1984 Yang Kuan moved to the United States, settling in Miami
, Florida
. He continued to write in the US, and published an autobiography. He died in Miami
on September 1, 2005, aged 91.


* ^ A B C D E F Wei Chengsi (2011-05-23). "我的史学启蒙老师". nfpeople.com. Retrieved 2012-04-27. * ^ A B Zhang Jinghua, Zhang Li; et al. (July 2003). 古史辨派与20世纪学术史:几种视角的考察 . 二十世纪疑古思潮 (IN CHINESE). RETRIEVED 2012-04-27. * ^ Richter, Ursula (June 1994). "Historical Scepticism in the New Culture Era: Gu