Hu Shi

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Name in Wade-Giles
Hu Shih
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Biography in English

Hu Shih (1891-24 February 1962), leading member of the Peking University galaxy of intellectuals. His efforts to promote the use of pai-hua [the vernacular 白話] in writing sparked the literary and cultural movements of the 1920's. A disciple of John Dewey, he utilized Western philosophical terminology and methodology in reinterpreting classical Chinese thought. His historical studies of pai-hua literature were important works. From 1937 until his death, he spent only six years in China. He lived in the United States, serving as Chinese ambassador from 1938 to 1942. He became president of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan in 1958.

A native of Chihsi hsien, Anhwei, Hu Shih was born in Shanghai. At the time of his birth, his father, Hu Ch'uan (1841-1895; T. T'ieh-hua), was serving as inspector of the likin barriers in the Shanghai area. His mother, Feng Shun-ti (1873-1918), was Hu Ch'uan's third wife, and Hu Shih was their only child. In 1892 Hu Ch'uan was transferred to Taiwan, and his family joined him there in 1893. Hu Shih and his mother returned to the family home in Chihsi in early 1895, but Hu Ch'uan remained in Taitung, where he was serving as prefectural magistrate and garrison commander, until summer. He sailed from Taiwan in the middle of August. Shortly after landing at Amoy, he died, probably of beri-beri. The four-year-old Hu Shih was left in the care of his mother and his paternal uncles. The family's economic position declined steadily, partly because Feng Shun-ti had to care for Hu Ch'uan's children by earlier marriages as well as for Hu Shih. The domestic tensions and financial anxieties of those years formed some of Hu Shih's most vivid childhood memories.

From 1895 to 1904 Hu Shih was educated by uncles and cousins in the family school in Chihsi. He was, by his own account, a precocious student, having learned a thousand characters before entering school at the age of four. He received a classical primary education and read a good deal of history. He also devoured the popular fiction which was part of every Chinese schoolboy's informal education. In 1904 he accompanied one of his older half-brothers to Shanghai in search of a "modern" education. He remained in the city for six years and attended several of the so-called new schools, which taught English, Western mathematics, and rudimentary natural science in addition to more traditional subjects. Among these was the China National Institute [Chung-kuo kung-hsueh 中國公學], a radical institution established in 1905 by Chinese students who had studied in Japan, most of whom were avowed supporters of the revolutionary movement. Hu studied at the institute from 1906 to 1908. Although he did not become active in the revolutionary movement, he participated in student politics and served as editor of a student-sponsored newspaper called Ching-yeh hsun pao [the struggle 競業旬報]. By 1908, however, he no longer could afford to go to school. He remained in Shanghai, supporting himself by teaching English and by doing editorial work.

Hu's frustrating financial difficulties led him to mild dissipation. In the spring of 1910 he was jailed after having a drunken scrap with the police. At this point, he resolved to reform his ways. After two months of diligent preparation, he went to Peking to take the examinations for the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship. He was one of seventy successful candidates who sailed for the United States in August.

Hu Shih enrolled at the College of Agriculture at Cornell University because he then subscribed to the popular belief that China's greatest need was men with technical expertise. However, he failed to develop any interest in his studies, and early in 1912 he transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences, where he majored in philosophy. He was an excellent student, though by his own estimate somewhat too bookish, and in 1913 he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving a B.A. degree in June 1914, he remained at Cornell for another year to begin graduate work in philosophy. During this period, he became a close friend of Y. R. Chao (Chao Yuen-ren, q.v.), who was one of his classmates. In the summer of 1915 Hu discovered John Dewey's writings on experimentalism, and in September he entered Columbia Univerrity and began working for his Ph.D. under Dewey. His doctoral dissertation, "The Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China," completed in 1917, was designed to discover "pragmatic" tendencies in early Chinese philosophy. It foreshadowed the scholarly uses to which Hu would put his understanding of experimentalist methodology. In June 1917 he left the United States, and in July, nearly seven years after his departure, he landed in Shanghai.

Hu Shih's education in Shanghai and America led him to become, in many respects, thoroughly untraditional in his opinions. Many of his contemporaries regarded him as the epitome of the Westernized Chinese. However, it is apparent that traditional ideas and attitudes had influenced his intellect and temperament. Hu Ch'uan had been a Confucian in the rationalist tradition of Chu Hsi. He had written some poems expressing these convictions, which were among the first writings that Hu Shih had read as a child. The environment in which the boy grew up, however, had been colored by the Buddhist faith of his mother and the other women of the household. Hu's first intellectual adventure began when, at the age of ten or eleven, he stumbled upon anti- Buddhist passages in the Tzu-chih t'ung-chien [資治通鑒] and the writings of Chu Hsi. The scepticism thus stimulated, supplemented in later years by ideas drawn from T. H. Huxley and others, became one of Hu's chief weapons in his struggle to free the Chinese mind from the bonds of habit and tradition. In Shanghai, he had read Yen Fu's translations of Huxley's Evolution and Ethics, Mill's On Liberty, and Montesquieu's L'Esprit des lois. Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's essays in the Hsin-min ts'ung-pao had given him at least a general understanding of Western historical and intellectual development, and Liang was also responsible for bringing other aspects of Chinese thought to Hu's attention. The Shanghai years had laid the foundations for Hu's later acceptance of Western values, but, at the same time, it was in Shanghai that he had come to share with other intellectuals of his own generation the common burden of their nation's failing strength and the common commitment to the mission of "enlightenment."

Hu Shih's intellectual development in the United States was influenced at least as much by the extracurricular concerns of his undergraduate years as by his formal courses of study. He was active in several Chinese student groups, but he did not limit his social and intellectual friendships to the Chinese student community. He was a member of the Cornell Cosmopolitan Club, through which he became involved in the International Federation of Students and in several of the pacifist organizations that flourished before and during the First World War. Woodrow Wilson's idealistic internationalism made a profound impression on him. In 1915, when Japan presented her Twenty-one Demands to Yuan Shih-k'ai's government, Hu stood by his pacifist convictions, urging "patriotic sanity" and arguing against a militant Chinese response.

Hu's enthusiastic acceptance of experimentalism after 1915 did not necessitate a fundamental revision of his intellectual position. The great appeal of Dewey's experimentalist philosophy, as Hu interpreted it, was that it provided a methodological scheme for social and cultural reconstruction which harmonized with his own moderate convictions. He was better prepared, by temperament as well as experience, to understand the implications of experimentalism than were most of those to whom he preached its tenets after his return to China.

In the autumn of 1917 Hu Shih became a professor of philosophy at Peking University, thus beginning an association with China's most renowned center of higher education which was to endure, despite several lengthy interruptions, for more than three decades. He remained in Peking, except for brief absences, until 1926. Then, following his appointment to the British Boxer Indemnity Fund committee, he traveled to London (by way of Manchuria, the Soviet Union, and Europe), and thence to the United States. After returning to China in the spring of 1927, he spent three years in Shanghai teaching philosophy at Kuanghua University. From April 1928 to May 1930 he also served as president of the China National Institute, his old school, which had become a private university at Woosung. Hu attempted to obtain official recognition of the institute as a university, but he failed because he had antagonized a number of Nanking officials by criticizing National Government policies. In 1 930 he made an arrangement with Chiang Monlin (Chiang Meng-lin, q.v.), the minister of education and an old friend, to resign in return for official recognition and registration of the school.

Hu returned to Peking to head the compilation and translation bureau of the China Foundation for the Promotion of Education and Culture. He had been a member of the board of the foundation since 1926. Early in 1931 he was appointed dean of the college of arts at Peking University by Chiang Monlin, who had become chancellor of the university. Hu remained at Peking until the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, making only one brief excursion abroad, in 1933, to deliver the Haskell Lectures at the University of Chicago (collected and published as The Chinese Renaissance in 1934). In July 1937 Hu attended the Lushan Conference in Kiangsi. Shortly thereafter, he set out on a government-sponsored goodwill tour of the United States and Europe.

Hu Shih's intellectual activities and influence reached their peak in the 20 years between his return to China in 1917 and his departure in 1937. His reputation as an intellectual rebel and a leader in the movement to replace the classical written language with pai-hua [the vernacular] had been established during his years of study in the United States. In January 191 7 his "Wen-hsueh kai-liang ch'u-i" [tentative proposals for literary reform] was published in Ch'en Tu-hsiu's influential review, Hsin ch'ingnien [new youth]. It was followed by other essays arguing the same case, most notably "Li-shih-ti wen-hsueh kuan-nien lun" [on the genetic concept of literature] and "Chien-she ti wen-hsueh ko-ming lun" [on a constructive revolution in literature]. These essays appeared in May 1917 and April 1918, respectively. His principal contributions to the literary revolution were, like these, essays on problems of style and content in a historical context. He was not a creative writer, and his only efforts in that direction, except for translations of a few short stories, were poems in the vernacular style published in 1919 as Ch'ang-shih chi [a collection of experiments] . He was, however, a master of straight-forward and lucid prose.

In Peking, Hu belonged to the small group of avant-garde intellectuals who gathered around the Hsin ch'ing-nien [新青年]—Ch'en Tu-hsiu, Li Ta-chao, Ch'ien Hsuan-t'ung, Chou Tso-jen and his brother Chou Shu-jen (Lu Hsun), Kao I-han, T'ao Meng-ho, Liu Fu, and others. The Literary Revolution was only one of their causes, a single aspect of a broader campaign directed against the whole structure of traditional values. Hu published a number of essays in the Hsin ch'ing-nien on aspects of the general problem of cultural regeneration and intellectual reform: "I-pu-sheng-chu-i 【易卜生主義】," a paper on Ibsenism which involved a discussion of the relationship between the individual and his society and of individual responsibilities, in June 1918; "Chen-ts'ao wen-t'i" [the question of chastity 貞操問題] in July 1918, and "Mei-kuo ti fu-nü" [American women 美國的婦女], in September 1918, concerning the emancipation of women ; "Pu-hsiu" [immortality 補修], a summation of his own philosophy of life, in February 1919; and "Shih-yeh chu-i" [experimentalism 實驗主義], an exposition of the fundamentals of pragmatism, published on the eve of John Dewey's arrival in China in 1919.

As John Dewey's most illustrious Chinese disciple, Hu was active during the two years of Dewey's lecture tour (1919-21) in China, serving as his interpreter for lectures in Peking and elsewhere and doing what he could to exploit the interest in experimentalist philosophy which Dewey's presence stimulated. Hu repeatedly affirmed that the scientific method of experimentalism—initial scepticism, clear definition of specific and concrete problems, a process of logical reasoning to hypothetic conclusions or solutions, and careful attention to final results—represented a universally applicable approach to the solution of social and political problems. Above all else, he strove to impart to his audience a respect for this methodology and its uses.

Much of Hu's time and energy was devoted to using experimentalist methods to reevaluate various aspects of Chinese tradition. In a number of essays, reviews, and prefaces he discussed the intent of such scholarship. Among these were "Kuo-hsueh chi-k'an fa-k'an hsuan-yen" [inaugural announcement of the Chinese Studies Quarterly 國學期刊發刊宣言], which appeared in 1923, and "Chih-hsueh ti fang-fa yü ts'ai-liao" [the methods and materials of scholarship 知學的方法與材料], which appeared in 1928. Hu also wrote about specific aspects of Chinese philosophy. In 1919 he had published the first volume of a work, based on his dissertation, which dealt with the sources of texts traditionally ascribed to the classical philosophers. He never completed the Chung-kuo che-hsueh shih ta-kang [outline of the history of Chinese philosophy]. However, his "Ch'ing-tai hsueh-che ti chih-hsueh fang-fa" [the intellectual methodology of Ch'ing dynasty scholars] of 1921 and his "Chi-ko fan-li-hsueh ti ssu-hsiang-chia" [some anti-li-hsueh thinkers] of 1928 discussed the writings of Ch'ing dynasty scholars who, according to Hu, had a "scientific" point of view. These studies of the history of Chinese thought were intended to substantiate Hu's conviction that the methods of modern scientific thought had Chinese antecedents and could therefore be appropriated as something not entirely alien to traditional inclinations.

In other areas of scholarly endeavor, Hu sought to demonstrate the usefulness of experimentalist methodology in clarifying hitherto confused issues of cultural history. Among the results of such research were several studies of the lineage of the great pai-hua novels, starting with the Shui-hu chuan ( The Water Margin) and the Hung-lou meng [Dream of the Red Chamber), which shed new light on questions of authorship and textual continuity. Hu's interest in vernacular literature also led him to undertake a history of its development, the first volume of which, covering the period through the T'ang dynasty, was published in 1928 as Pai-hua wen-hsueh-shih, shang-chüan. Like his history of philosophy, this work remained unfinished, but a number of lectures on related topics were collected and published separately as the Kuo-yü wen-hsueh-shih in 1927.

Hu Shih proclaimed himself an experimentalist in politics as well as in scholarship. He argued that the attitudes and methods of experimentalist analysis were essential to the examination of contemporary social and political problems and that by isolating and attacking specific problems, gradual but certain progress could be assured. The logic of this particularistic approach brought him into conflict with many other reform-minded intellectuals. Although he remained strongly iconoclastic in his opinions concerning China's traditional culture and its place in the modern world, he consistently opposed any attempt to solve China's problems by revolutionary means. He was, moreover, profoundly distrustful of political activity on the part of intellectuals, and he repeatedly affirmed his belief that no genuine solution to the immediate problems of Chinese politics would be possible until new social and intellectual attitudes had been implanted and cultivated over a period of years or decades.

In spite of his beliefs, Hu Shih frequently felt compelled to speak out on questions of political concern, particularly in response to the spread of Marxism and militant nationalism. In the summer of 1919 Hu had attacked the tendency of his fellow intellectuals to accept vague and ready-made analyses of China's situation and all-embracing solutions to its problems in an article entitled "Wen-t'i yü chu-i" [problems and -isms]. The immediate target of his displeasure was Marxism, toward which Li Ta-chao and Ch'en Tu-hsiu (qq.v.) , together with many students and younger intellectuals, already were gravitating. Hu's rejection of Marxism stemmed from his belief that it was intellectually dogmatic and founded on assumptions that could not withstand critical examination. He was not initially fearful of its political and social implications, and when he saw Communism in practice in the Soviet Union in 1926 he was greatly impressed by the purposefulness of its programs and the willingness of Soviet leaders to experiment. As late as the mid-1930's he continued to think of Soviet Communism as a logical continuation of the course of Western political development. But he did not believe that its underlying premises could be applied to the Chinese situation, and he asserted unequivocally that evolutionary progress, not revolutionary change, was China's best hope. Addressing himself as much to the Kuomintang as to the Chinese Communist party, Hu argued his case against revolution in these terms: revolution accomplishes its aims with speed and efficiency, but is blind and unreasoning in its course and too often diverted from its original intent; evolution (or, as he sometimes qualified it, "conscious evolution"), though slower and in certain ways more wasteful, is more easily controlled and less likely to do unnecessary damage. He recorded these views in such articles as "Wo-men tsou na-i t'iao-lu?" [which road shall we follow], of 1929, and "Chieh-shao wo tzu-chi ti ssu-hsiang" [introducing my own thought], of 1930.

Hu Shih's aversion to revolution and his concern for social continuity were shared by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (qv.) and other spokesmen of the neo-conservative viewpoint that took form in the 1920's. In May 1922 Hu, together with V. K. Ting, Chiang Wei-tz'u, and others, began to publish the magazine Nu-li chou pao [endeavor]. In its second issue was a manifesto entitled "Wo-men ti cheng-chih chu-chang" [our political proposals], written by Hu Shih and signed by 16 leading intellectuals, including men of such divergent opinions as Liang Shu-ming, Li Ta-chao, Ts'ai Yuan-pei, and Hu. The purpose of this document was to define good government in terms general enough to elicit further discussion and thus to arouse "a militant and decisive public opinion" to press for political reforms. However, in more important respects Hu Shih's ideas and those of the neo-conservatives conflicted. Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, together with Carsun Chang (Chang Chia-sen), and Liang Shu-ming (qq.v.) , directly challenged Hu's system of values by declaring that Chinese traditional values were more humane than those of the West and more beneficial to the spiritual life of man, by emphasizing the superiority of intuition to Western reason, and by attacking what they termed the materialistic and legalistic basis of Western civilization. Hu, in defending science and Western civilization, contended that the distinction drawn between "spiritual" and "material" development was a false one. He urged his fellow intellectuals not to deceive themselves by seeking grounds for the belief that China occupies a unique position in the world. Instead, he argued, they should become thoroughly "modernized" and sufficiently toughminded to accept the unflattering position assigned to China when her accomplishments are measured on the scale of world history.

The debates on the place of scientific values in civilization raged throughout 1923, with Liang Shu-ming, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, and Carsun Chang on one side, and V. K. Ting and Hu Shih on the other. Nu-li chou pao and its monthly supplement, Tu-shu tsa-chih [study], were made to serve the defenders of science and Western culture until they ceased publication in October after having opposed Ts'ao K'un's attempt to secure the presidency.

Hu Shih wrote a lengthy preface to a collection of essays, K'o-hsueh jü jen-sheng-kuan [science and the philosophy of life], published at the end of 1923. His other writings on the so-called science-philosophy controversy include "Tu Liang Shu-ming hsien-sheng ti Tung Hsi wenhua chi ch'i che-hsueh"' [after reading Liang Shu-ming's "The Culture of East and West and Their Philosophies"], published in 1923; "Women tui-yü Hsi-yang chin-tai wen-ming ti t'ai-tu" [our attitude toward modern Western civilization], published in 1926; and "Shih-p'ingso-wei 'Chung-kuo pen-wei ti wen-hua chien-she' " [a critique of "Cultural Reconstruction on a Chinese Basis"], published in 1935.

The nature of Hu Shih's relationship to the Kuomintang is somewhat obscure. During the early 1920's his contact with the party was minimal, and there is reason to believe that he did not hold a high opinion of Sun Yat-sen or of his prospects as a revolutionary leader. Hu was abroad during the Northern Expedition. By the time he returned to Shanghai in May 1927, Chiang Kai-shek had established firm control of the city. During the next several years, Hu Shih wrote sonie of his most perceptive political commentaries, most of which were published in Hsin-yueh [the crescent moon], a review devoted chiefly to literature and literary criticism which he established in 1928 together with Hsü Chih-mo, Liang Shih-ch'iu, Lo Lung-chi i qq.v.) , and several others. Hu's criticisms of the Kuomintang concentrated on two major issues: its position on the questions of political tutelage and constitutionalism and its attitude toward cultural innovation and reform. As in his earlier political writings, Hu emphasized the importance of "the proper organs of government" and the educational responsibilities of the government. He attacked with vigor Sun Yat-sen's doctrine of the difficulty of knowledge, upon which rested the justification for party tutelage. He accused the Kuomintang of maintaining a "reactionary" attitude toward the purposes and accomplishments of the New Culture Movement because of the narrowly nationalistic aims of the revolution. The National Government replied to these criticisms with the charge that Hu was speaking irresponsibly and warned him about the consequences of thus "misleading" the people.

Throughout his life, Hu remained a proud representative of the "no party, no faction" intellectuals. In the Tu-li p'ing-lun [independent critic], which he edited in Peking from 1932 to 1937, he continued to speak out against Chinese culturalism, a cause which had revived somewhat as a result of the tradition-oriented New Life Movement launched by the National Government as a means of counteracting the appeal of Communist ideology. Nevertheless, the changing problems of the 1930's drew Hu closer to the Nationalist position on a number of issues, a reconciliation made easier by the fact that many of Hu's friends of former years had found places for themselves in the Nationalist camp. Hu was among the last to abandon the hope that a modus vivendi with Japan might be achieved, primarily because he was convinced that war would destroy everything that had been accomplished in the areas of institutional and intellectual reform over the preceding decades. He also was out of sympathy with the temper of student politics during these years.

When Hu left China in 1937, the years of his greatest influence were behind him. All but six of the remaining years of his life were spent in the United States, and as his contact with events in China lessened, so also did his ability to comment significantly on them.

In September 1938, upon arriving in France after an extended stay in the United States, Hu received notification of his appointment as Chinese ambassador to the United States. In that time of deepening crisis in Japanese- American relations Hu was in many respects an ideal representative of the Chinese cause in the United States—a man Americans knew and respected and who, in turn, liked and respected the American way of life. The years of his ambassadorship were devoted to publicly promoting the Chinese cause, the kind of work in which Hu was most effective. Even before December 1941 much of the burden of diplomatic negotiations designed to secure tangible American aid for the Chinese war effort was entrusted to others, notably T. . Soong. The entry of the United States into the war radically changed the character of the National Government's aims in Washington. In September 1942 Hu was relieved of his post without explanation and replaced by Wei Tao-ming (q.v.). Hu subsequently was made a special adviser to the Executive Yuan, but he remained in the United States until 1946, writing and lecturing. In May 1943 he contributed a laudatory preface to the first volume oi Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period {1644-1912), edited by Arthur W. Hummel. The second volume of the Hummel work contained an extended note bv Hu Shih I I on the results of his intensive research on collated and emended texts of the Shui-ching chu [commentary on the book of waterways]. In April-June 1945 he was a member of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, and later that year he served, in the absence of Chu Chia-hua (q.v.), as acting head of the Chinese delegation to the first UNESCO conference in London.

In June 1945 Chiang Monlin resigned the chancellorship of Peking University to become the secretary general of the Executive Yuan. Hu Shih was appointed to succeed his old friend, but he did not return to China immediately to assume this new post. Fu Ssu-nien (q.v.) served as acting chancellor of the university until Hu arrived in mid- 1946. Hu remained at Peking University for two-and-ahalf years. In November 1946 he served as a nonpartisan delegate to the tempestous constitutional convention of the National Assembly in Nanking held to draft a constitution that would bring to a close the period of political tutelage and one-party dictatorship. The following year he was elected to the first National Asseinbly under the new constitutional regime. Although Hu lent his support to the National Government in this fashion, he refused to become closely linked with it. In March 1948 he was invited to stand for election to the presidency by Chiang Kai-shek himself, but he declined. A few months later, he was suggested for the premiership. He declined the offer, reportedly remarking that a scholar who could not keep his desk in order was hardly suited to undertake the task of managing a government.

When Chinese Communist forces encircled Peiping in mid- 1948, Hu Shih flew to Nanking, leaving behind a large part of his personal library and many manuscripts and letters. From Nanking he went to Shanghai, and thence to the United States. Except for a brief period of service as curator of the Gest Oriental Library at Princeton, he lived in semi-retirement in New- York. He wrote articles for Foreign Affairs and other journals in which he lamented the expansion of Stalinist authority in China. In his 1954 introduction to John Leighton Stuart's Fifty Years in China Hu commented on the role of the United States in the Nationalist-Communist conflict of the I940's by recounting his reaction to Secretary of State Dean Acheson's letter of transmittal which accompanied the official report United States Relations with China, 1944-1949. Hu had made the marginal notation "Matthew 27:24" by Acheson's statement that "nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable limits of its capabilities could have changed the result; nothing that was left undone by this country has contributed to it." The Bible verse reads: "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying I am innocent of the blood of this just man: see ye to it."

A collection of learned articles entitled Ch'ing-chu Hu Shih hsien-sheng liu-shih-wu sui hm-wen-chi [symposium in honor of Hu Shih on his sixty-fifth birthday] was published in Taiwan under the auspices of the Academia Sinica in 1957. In the autumn of 1958 Hu went to Taiwan and assumed the presidency of the Academia Sinica. Although he retained some influence because of his early, pioneering work, his late writings had little effect on younger Chinese intellectuals. He has among the older literati who supported the magazine Tzu-yu Chung-kuo [free China fortnightly], which was published by Lei Chen and others until 1960, when it was forced to suspend publication after Lei was arrested and imprisoned on charges of subversion. The magazine had been highly critical of National Government policies and had published a considerable number of outspoken articles about inefficiency and corruption in the government and the military. It has been noted that many of the older intellectuals guiding the magazine often referred to John Dewey and Bertrand Russell, using the terms they had used in the 1920's, as the culmination of Western scientific enlightenment and seemed to be unaware of later Western works produced in reaction to Dewey's philosophy or of Russell's later writings.

On 24 February 1962, during a reception for new members at the Nankang headquarters of the Academia Sinica, Hu Shih suffered a heart attack and died. He was survived by Chiang Tung-hsiu, whom he had married in 1917, and by two sons.

In his later years, Hu Shih was lionized by Westerners, attacked by Chinese Communists as an agent of "American cultural aggression" and a "lackey of the Chiang Kai-shek regime," and relegated to the history books by many younger Chinese intellectuals. Because of his early work, however, his place in modern Chinese intellectual history is secure. The critic C. T. Hsia has called Hu Shih "the father of the Literary Revolution" because his efforts to promote the use of pai-hua resulted in the literary and cultural movements of the I920's, which wrought a radical change in the course and content of Chinese literature. His other important contributions to intellectual life in China were his historical works on pai-hua literature and his utilization of Western philosophical terminology and methodology in reinterpreting classical Chinese thought.

Biography in Chinese

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