Edwin G. Pulleyblank

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Edwin G. Pulleyblank
Born (1922-08-07)August 7, 1922
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Died May 13, 2013(2013-05-13) (aged 90)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fields Chinese linguistics, history
Institutions SOAS, University of London
Cambridge University
University of British Columbia
Education University of Alberta (B.A.)
University of London (Ph.D.)
Doctoral advisor Walter Simon
Spouses Winona Relyea (1946–76, her death)
Pan Yihong (2002–13, his death)
Children 3
Chinese name
Chinese 蒲立本

Edwin George "Ted" Pulleyblank FRSC (August 7, 1922 – April 13, 2013) was a Canadian Sinologist and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia.[1][2] He was known for his studies of the historical phonology of Chinese.

Life and career[edit]

Edwin G. "Ted" Pulleyblank was born on August 7, 1922, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His father, William George Edwin Pulleyblank, was a teacher of mathematics who later became a school vice-principal, and his mother, Ruth Pulleyblank, had also been a teacher. Pulleyblank was an avid student with a bright intellect and an excellent memory for details, and taught himself Ancient Greek while in high school.[3] He matriculated at the University of Alberta in 1939 on an Alberta provincial government scholarship, and majored in the Latin and Greek Classics while also tutoring other students in math and physics in his spare time.[3]

Pulleyblank graduated in 1942 at the height of World War II. Noticing his aptitude for both mathematics and foreign languages, one of Pulleyblank's professors offered him a chance to do "secret war work", which he accepted. Pulleyblank was then sent to England to assist in the cryptanalysis projects at Bletchley Park, where he stayed for three years and learned to read Japanese.[4] He returned to Canada in 1946, where he briefly worked for the Canadian National Research Council and began studying Chinese at Carleton University.[5]

In 1946, Pulleyblank received a Chinese government scholarship to study Chinese at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, where he stayed for two years. In 1948, the SOAS made Pulleyblank a Lecturer in Classical Chinese, even though he would later recall that his command of Japanese was at that time still better than his Chinese. He taught courses while pursuing doctoral studies under the German sinologist Walter Simon, and received a Ph.D. in 1951 with a dissertation entitled "The Background and Early Life of An Lu-shan".[4]

Pulleyblank spent a year doing research at libraries in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, and also did additional studies in Chinese at Cambridge University, receiving an M.A. in 1953. In 1953, at only 31 years old, Pulleyblank was given the position of Chair of Chinese at Cambridge, which he held for 13 years. Pulleyblank and his wife wanted to return to North America, and so in 1966 he left Cambridge to join the Asian Studies faculty at the University of British Columbia, where he remained until his retirement in 1987.[6]

Selected works[edit]

  • The Background of the Rebellion of An Lu-shan, London, UK: Oxford University Press. 1955.
  • Chinese History and World History: An inaugural lecture, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1955.
  • Historians of China and Japan, Edited with W.G. Beasley. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 1961.[7]
  • "The Consonantal System of Old Chinese", Asia Major 9 (1962): 1962/1962-58.PDF 58–144, 1962/1962-206.pdf 206–265.
  • "Late Middle Chinese, Part I", Asia Major 15 (1970): 197–239.
  • "Late Middle Chinese, Part II", Asia Major 16 (1971): 121–166.
  • Middle Chinese: A Study in Historical Phonology, Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. 1984. ISBN 978-0-7748-0192-8.
  • Studies in Language Origins. Vol. I., ed by Jan Wind, Edwin G. Pulleyblank, Eric de Grolier and Bernard H. Bichakjian, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA: Benjamins, 1989. ISBN 978-1-55619-065-0.
  • A Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese and Early Mandarin, Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-7748-0366-3.
  • A Chinese text in Central Asian Brahmi script: New evidence for the pronunciation of Late Middle Chinese and Khotanese, With R. E. Emmerick. Rome: Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. 1993.
  • Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar, Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-7748-0541-4.
  • "The Roman Empire as known to Han China." A review article on The Roman Empire in Chinese Sources. D. D. Leslie and K. H. J. Gardiner. Rome (1996). Review by Edwin G. Pulleyblank. JAOS 119.1 (1999), pp. 71–79. JSTOR 605541
  • "The Nomads in China and Central Asia in the Post-Han Period," in: Hans Robert ROEMER (Hg.), History of the Turkic Peoples in the Pre-Islamic Period. Histoire des Peuples Turcs à l’Époque Pré-Islamique. (2000). Philologiae et Historiae Turcicae Fundamenta Tomus Primus. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag, S. pp. 76–94. (Philologiae Turcicae Fundamenta; III) ISBN 978-3-87997-283-8.
  • Essays on Tang and pre-Tang China, Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT, USA: Ashgate. 2001. ISBN 978-0-86078-858-4.
  • Central Asia and Non-Chinese Peoples of Ancient China. Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT, USA: Ashgate. 2002. ISBN 978-0-86078-859-1.


  1. ^ Lumley, Elizabeth (2003). Canadian Who's Who 2003. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-8865-1. 
  2. ^ Canada (2013-04-13). "Professor Edwin G. Pulleyblank (1922-2013) | Department of Asian Studies". Asia.ubc.ca. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  3. ^ a b Chan (2014), p. 252.
  4. ^ a b Chan (2014), p. 253.
  5. ^ Chan (2014), p. 243.
  6. ^ Chan (2014), p. 254.
  7. ^ Boorman, Howard L. (1962). "Review: Historians of China and Japan, edited by W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleyblank". Political Science Quarterly 77 (1): 132–134. JSTOR 2146521. 

External links[edit]