A Latterday Confucian: Reminiscences of William Hung (1893-1980)

A Latterday Confucian: Reminiscences of William Hung (1893-1980)

by Susan Chan Egan




As a scholar, William Hung was instrumental in opening China’s rich documentary past to modern scrutiny. As an educator, he helped shape one of twentieth-century China’s most remarkable institutions, Yenching University. A member of the buoyant, Western-educated generation that expected to transform China into a modern, liberal nation, he saw his hopes darken as political turmoil, war with Japan, and the Communist takeover led to a different future. yet his influence was widespread; for his students became leaders on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and he continued to teach in the United States through the 1970s.

In 1978, he began recalling his colorful life to Susan Chan Egan in weekly taping sessions. Egan draws on these tapes to let a skillful raconteur tell for himself anecdotes from his life as a religious and academic activist with a flair for the flamboyant. His reminiscences encompass the issues and dilemmas faced by Chinese intellectuals of his period. Among the notables who figured in his life and memories were Hu Shih, H. H. Kung, Henry Winter Luce, John Leighton Stuart, Timothy Lew, and Lu Chihwei.

While retaining the flavor of Hung’s reminiscences, Egan explains the evolution and importance of his scholarly work; captures his blend of Confucianism, mystical Christianity, and iconoclastic thought; and describes his effect on those around him. For it was finally his unyielding integrity and personal kindness as much as his accomplishments that caused him to be revered by colleagues and generations of students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674512979
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/30/1988
Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs , #131
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.37(w) x 9.27(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Susan Chan Egan is an independent scholar based in Santa Barbara, California.

Table of Contents


Part I

1. Childhood in Fochow

2. The Story of the Hung Clan

3. Early Years in Shantung

4. Adolescence

5. Transitions

Part II

6. Ohio Wesleyan

7. Friends and Romances

8. Turning Point

9. On the Lecture Circuit

Part III

10. The Repatriate

11. Dean at Yenching

12. Palaces, Murals, and High Finance

13. Harvard: 1928-1930

Part IV

14. Old Ties and New Friends

15. Work and Students in the 1930s

16. In and Out of Enemy Territory

17. Incarceration under the Japanese

18. Victory

Part V

19. A Very Long Journey

20. In Exile

21. The Survivor



Appendix I. A Partial List of Scholars Trained at Yenching University by William Hung

Appendix II. A Summary of Hung's "Preface" to the Combined Concordances to Ch'un-ch'iu, Kung-yang, Ku-hang, and Tso-chuan


Glossary of Chinese Verses

Glossarial Index

What People are Saying About This

Jon W. Huebner

A Latterday Confucian is...a superbly written and evocative intellectual biography in which William Hung's reminiscences have been seamlessly woven into the author's smooth narrative. Egan has excelled at vividly describing scenes, places, and people from Hung's life.

Jon W. Huebner, Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs

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