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Fan Wenlan

Author:       Update Time:2015年06月02日

 

 

Fan Wenlan, a Chinese historian, educationist, and social activist, was born in Shanyin County (today’s Shaoxing), Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province on 15 November, 1893. Whe he was young, he read the books and periodicals like Guocui Xuebao, etc., accepted Zhang Binglin’s political view “loving our country and nation”, and support the Revolution of 1911. He passed into the preparatory of Peking University in 1913, and began to study the undergraduate course in the Department of Ancient Chinese Culture. The famous scholars of ancient Chinese culture like Huang Kan, Chen Hanzhang, and Liu Shipei, etc, were his teachers.He also often attended Lu Xun’s classes of Calligraphy and Epigaphy. He graduated from Peking University in 1917 with a bachelor degree, and had been the private secretary of the president of Peking University for a period. In the spring of 1918, Fan Wenlan went to Shenyang Advanced Normal College for teaching. In the summer of the same year, he went to the Provincial High School of Jixian of Henan Province for teaching. In 1922 he became a Chinese teacher in Nankai school of Tianjin, and later also became the professor of Nankai University at the same time, teaching the history of the Chinese literature, the Critic Classics, and the Outline of the Ancient Chinese Culture. In 1925 he was invited by Gu Jiegang to join in the cultural group named Pushe, and published a book named Expounding Wenxin Diaolong, which was praised by Liang Qichao,etc.. In the next autumn, he joined in the CCP. In the autumn of 1927, he began to teach in Peking University, Normal University, Woman Normal University, China’s University, Chaoyang University, Woman College of Letters and Science, Sino-French University, and Fu Jen Catholic University. In October 1932, he became the dean of the Chinese Department of Woman College of Letters and Science, and became the president of the College.
In the summer of 1936, Fan Wenlan became the professor of the College of Liberal Arts, Henan University. After “the Accident of Marco Polo Bridge”broke out, he became the main editor of the wartime special issue of Jingshi Magazine, propagating the anti-Japanese views of the CCP. In the summer of 1938, he joined in the guerilla of the New Fourth Army.In 1940 he went to Yan’an, and became the vice-president of Maxism and Lenninism College and Yan’an Central Academy. He was entrusted by the Central Committee of CCP and Mao Zedong to compile the Chinese Comprehensive History (including the Modern Chinese History). In May 1943 Fan Wenlan was allocated to work in the Central Propaganda Department of CCP.
In the long-term revolutionary practice, Fan Wenlan gradually formed a new academic ideological system with Marxism as ideological base, full of national chracteristics, and with specific character. In 1941 and 1942 he published the first volume of the Concise Edition of the Chinese Comprehensive History (from ancient times to Wudai) and the second volume (from Song Liao to the middle period of Qing), which analyzed the historical facts, revealed the law that the old society and object would inevitably be replaced by the new society and object, and was praised one of the earlist complete works of the comprehensive history that systemically expounds the Chinese history with Marxism by the historians.
After he was allocated away from Yan’an in February 1946, Fan Wenlan had been the president of the North University and the dean of the History Department, the vice-president of the Northern China University and the dean of the Research Department and the History Department, the president of the Literary Federation of Jin Ji Lu Yu Border Area, and the committee member of the People’s Government of North China.During this period Fan Wenlan went on studying history. In 1947 he published the first volume of the Modern Chinese History (i.e. the third volume of the Concise Edition of the Comprehensive Chinese History), which systemically expounded the historic process during which China became semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, and praised highly the historic achievements of people’s anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism.
In September 1949, as the representative of the the circles of social sciences, Fan Wenlan attended the first session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. After the People’s Republic of China was founded, he became the president of the Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the vice-president of the Chinese History Society, the committeemember of the Committee for the Study of the Historic Problems of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the member of the standing committee of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences, CASS. From 1954 he was selected as the committee member of the standing committee of the third session of the National People’s Congress, and the committtee member of the third session of the national standing committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In the eighth and ninth sessions of the National Congress of CCP, he was selected as the candidate member of the Central Committee and the member of the Central Committee. In addition, he also had been the director of the Chinese People’s Association for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, the managing director of the Reforming Committee for the Chinese Character, and the chairman of the Researching Committee for the Historical Accounts of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. From 1952 Fan Wenlan rewrote the Concise Edition of the Chinese Comprehensive History. He had published 4 volumes (from antient time to Sui and Tang Dynasty) till 1965. He, Guo Moruo, Wu Yuzhang, Jian Bozan, and Lv Zhenru etc., contributed greatly for the flourishing the Chinese history science. He was one of the leaders with noble character and high prestige in the historian circle. Fan Wenlan died of an illness on September 29, 1969.
Fan Wenlan put forward his original views on many significant problems like the periodization of the antient and modern history, the forming of Han nationality, national struggle and natioanl anastomosing, the peasant war, patriotism, the long-term continuation of the feudal society, and critically summarizing the Confucian classics etc., and opened a new way for the further research.



Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

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