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Chen Shou-yi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chen Shou-yi in 1956

Ch'ên Shou-yi[a] (Chinese: 陳受頤; 1899–1978) was a Chinese-American[1] literary historian and cultural studies scholar. He is known for his contributions to the comparative cultural studies of China and the West. He was a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California from 1941 to 1967.

Early life and education[edit]

Chen was born in 1899 to a well-known literati family in Panyu, Guangdong, China,[2] and received a traditional Confucian education before college.[3] He completed his undergraduate studies at Canton Christian College in Guangzhou in 1920 and earned his doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Chicago in 1929.[2]


In the 1920s, Chen was influential in the New Culture Movement under Hu Shih.[4]

Chen was the chair of the history department at Peking University in Beijing from 1931 to 1937.[2] In 1936, he took a sabbatical as a visiting professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California, but upon his return to China was confronted with the Second Sino-Japanese War.[5]

Chen took a position at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1937.[5] In 1941, he returned to Pomona as a professor, a position he held until his retirement in 1967.[5]

In 1961, Chen published Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction (Ronald Press), the second English language survey of Chinese literature after Herbert Giles' 1901 A History of Chinese Literature. Academic reviewers praised the work's wide breadth and attempt to fill a hole in the academic literature, but many criticized its lack of scholarly analysis and poor editing.[6][7][8][9][10]

Later life and death[edit]

Chen retired in 1967, but kept going to his office each day to continue his research.[11] He died of illness in 1978.[11] His family donated his papers to the Claremont Colleges' library, where they are kept in the special collections department.[11]

Recognition and legacy[edit]

Chen received widespread recognition for his scholarly work. He was elected a member of Academia Sinica, the highest honor given to academics in the Republic of China.[12]

Chen is credited with helping to develop the Asian studies programs at Pomona and the other Claremont Colleges.[5]


  1. ^ Sometimes spelled with alternate romanizations. In this Chinese name, the family name is Chen.


  1. ^ "Dr. Ch'en Shou-Yi To Speak At Closing Lecture Of 1952-53 Forum Series". South Pasadena Review. March 10, 1953. p. 6. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Ch'en (Shou-yi) Papers". Online Archive of California. Archived from the original on May 24, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  3. ^ Hsia, Adrian (1998). The Vision of China in the English Literature of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. pp. vii–viii. ISBN 962-201-608-1.
  4. ^ "Chinese Author Forum Speaker". Arizona Daily Star. September 15, 1948. p. 3. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Eber, Irene. "Chen Shou Yi". School of Educational Studies. Claremont Graduate University. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Teele, Roy E. (1962). "Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction". Books Abroad. 36 (4): 452. doi:10.2307/40117286. JSTOR 40117286.
  7. ^ Hightower, James R. (1960). "Review of Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 23: 157. doi:10.2307/2718575. JSTOR 2718575.
  8. ^ Hawkes, David (May 1962). "Review of Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction". The Journal of Asian Studies. 21 (3): 387–389. doi:10.2307/2050702. JSTOR 2050702.
  9. ^ Wilhelm, Hellmut (July 1962). "Review of Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 82 (3): 458. doi:10.2307/597685. JSTOR 597685.
  10. ^ Lanciotti, Lionello (1962). "Review of Chinese Literature: A Historical Introduction". East and West. 13 (1). Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente: 83–84. JSTOR 29754567.
  11. ^ a b c Xiuyingz (April 4, 2017). "The Ch'en Shou-yi Papers 陳受頤檔案". Pictures & Conversations. The Claremont Colleges Library. Archived from the original on September 26, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Dr. Ch'en Shou-yi Slated As Speaker for Pro America". The Pomona Progress Bulletin. June 4, 1953. p. 6. Retrieved December 5, 2021.

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