International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Chinese Language Reform and Vernacular Poetry in the Early Twentieth Century
Dr Lijun Bi

In the early twentieth century, Chinese vernacular poetry emerged as a crucial part of Chinese intellectuals’ elaborate efforts to meet the enormous challenge of combining the external imperatives of national salvation with the internal prerequisites of enlightenment. This study considers the role of language reform in China’s New Culture Movement in the early twentieth century in relation to the birth of this new form of poetry. It argues that this vernacular poetry did not completely depart from tradition, as contemporary and later critics claimed, but instead relied heavily on the past, in spite of the fact that anti-traditionalism was a principal notion in this genre’s formative period. It concludes that the emergence of this genre reflects the quest for emancipation from the traditional ethics of subordination and submissiveness and that vernacular poetry was brought out by patriotic intellectuals to freely express new ideas and thereby to educate the young.

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