2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Notes on the Works of Zhang Zimu and Reflections on the Study of the Intellectual History of Late Qing China

Kwang-che Pan

Ph.D. in History, National Taiwan University

Zhang Zimu 張自牧 (1833-1886) is not a famous literatus in late Qing China, but his two major works, A Discussion of the Cosmos (Yinghai lun 瀛海論) and Thoughts from A Small World  (Lice zhiyan 蠡測卮言), are often quoted by scholars who analyzed the late Qing discourse of  “Western learning (Xixue) originating from China”  西學源出中國說. This paper provides evidence indicating that Zhang finished his writings in the late 1870’s, thus correcting the errors of past historians. For example, Onogawa Hidemi (小野川秀美) suggested that they were finished in the mid-1880’s in his Shimmatsu seiji shisō kenkyū 清末政治思想研究 (Studies in the political thought of the late Qing).

Using the accurate dating of Zhang Zimu’s works as a supporting example study, the author proposes that the study of late Qing intellectual history must be based upon the critical use of historical materials.


Keywords: Zhang Zimu, the intellectual history of late Qing China