Jaroslav Průšek

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Jaroslav Průšek ( chin. Pǔ Shíkè普 实 克; born on September 14, 1906 in Prague , died on April 7, 1980 there) was a Czechoslovak sinologist and founder of the Prague School of Sinology .


Průšek first studied European history at Charles University in Prague , later Sinology with Bernhard Karlgren in Gothenburg , with Gustav Haloun in Halle and with Erich Haenisch in Leipzig , and there also Japanese with André Wedemeyer . He then tried to get to China , and received an order from the Czech industrialist Tomáš Baťa to sound out the Chinese market for his shoe manufacture, while Průšek - under the influence of the writings of Max Weber and Werner Sombart - primarily studied the social history of China wanted to deal.

From 1932 to 1936 Průšek stayed in China and Japan , where he met numerous intellectuals - including Guō Mòruò , Bīngxīn , Shěn Cóngwén , Zhèng Zhènduó ( 鄭振鐸 ), Nagasawa Kikuya ( 長 澤 規矩 也 ), and Shionoya On ( 塩 谷 温 ) . His interest was now more in medieval folk literature and modern Chinese literature. He developed a Czech transcription for Chinese , which Oldřich Švarný continues to use to this day.

After Průšek had taught Chinese literature for a semester at the University of California at Berkeley , he returned to Prague in January 1937, where he first wrote a textbook on the Chinese language for his sponsor and worked at the university library. Shortly afterwards he published a translation of part of the Nàhǎn《呐喊》collection ( Eng. Call to fight or applause ) by Lǔ Xùn . He worked on a translation of the Conversations of Confucius and Zǐyè《子夜》 ( Shanghai in Twilight ) by Máo Dùn . In 1940 he published his travelogue Sestra moje Čína .

After the liberation of Czechoslovakia from fascism in 1945, Průšek began to teach at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, was appointed associate professor , and in 1948 he was appointed full professor . From 1949 to 1952 he was deputy dean . In 1952 Průšek took over the management of the Oriental Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences .

Průšek's studies of the folk literature of the Chinese Middle Ages from this period were first published in the orientální archive (and in 1970 in a separate anthology) and established an entire line of research in Sinology.

In the 1950s Průšek dealt again with modern Chinese literature. His groundbreaking articles have appeared in international journals. His Introduction to the Studies in Modern Chinese Literature finally appeared in Berlin in 1964 . On Lǔ Xùn, Průšek also relied on the research of his second wife, Berta Krebsová, as well as by Wladimir Iwanowitsch Semanow and Wiktor Wasiljewitsch Petrow, on Máo Dùn also on those of Fritz Gruner, on Yù Dáfū on the secondary literature of Anna Doležalová-Vlčková Guō Mòruò that of Milena Doleželová-Velingerová , to Dīng Líng to Dana Kalvodová, to Lǎo Shě to Zbigniew Słupski, to Bā Jīn to Oldřich Král, to Bīngxīn to Marcela Stolzová-Boušková etc.

In the second half of the 1960s Průšek taught at the University of Michigan and at Harvard University, among others .

On August 22, 1968, the 20th Conference of Chinese Studies was due to open in Prague  on the 50th anniversary of the May 4th Movement with nearly five hundred participants. This was preceded by the suppression of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Treaty troops under the leadership of the Soviet military. In December 1969 Stockholm University awarded Průšek an honorary doctorate , but in the following years Průšek fell out of favor in his homeland, was expelled from the Communist Party , dismissed from the Oriental Institute in 1971 and was no longer able to publish in Czechoslovakia. His work was limited to editing the Oriental Literature Newspaper in Leipzig .


Průšek was less influenced by Marxism than by elements of Russian formalism and Czech structuralism (including Jan Mukařovský and Felix Vodička ).

Průšek is regarded as a "widely recognized true pioneer in the field of modern Chinese literature" and as "one of the greatest sinologists of his time worldwide" who did not shy away from controversies with colleagues. B. the argument with CT Hsia .

Průšek's Subjectivism and Individualism in Modern Chinese Literature (Paris 1956) is one of the most cited articles on the topic and was a starting point for the work of Leo Ou-fan Lee, Don Price, Wolfgang Kubin , Ingo Schaefer and Janet A. Walker.

In the 1960s, Prague became a meeting place for sinologists. Průšek promoted international cooperation. For his Dictionary of Oriental Literatures (London 1974, Vermont, East Asia part Tokyo 1978) he led an international research team. Czechoslovak sinologists worked under his direction for the China Handbook published by Herbert Franke and Brunhild Staiger .

Works (selection)

  • Učebnice mluvené čínštiny . Zlín: Vyšší lidová škola T. Bati, 1938.
  • Umělá literatura a lidová slovesnost v Číně . Prague: Václav Petr, 1942.
  • Sestra moje Čína . Prague: Družstevní práce, 1947.
    • English translation by Ivan Vomacka: My Sister China . Prague: Karolinum, 2002.
  • O čínském písemnictví a vzdělanosti . Prague: Družstevní práce, 1947.
  • Literatura osvobozené Číny a její lidové tradice
    • German edition: The literature of liberated China and its folk traditions . Prague: Artia, 1955.
  • Chinese Statelets and the Northern Barbarians 1400-300 BC
  • Čínský lid v boji za svobodu .
  • The origins and the authors of the hua-pen . Prague, 1967.
  • Chinese Lyrics and Epics .
  • Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Era .
  • The Lyrical and the Epic. Studies in Chinese Literature .
  • Dictionary of Oriental literatures .
  • Učebnice hovorové čínštiny .
  • O čínském písemnictví a vzdělanosti .
  • Trojí učení o společnosti v Číně .
  • Několik poznámek o čínském malířství .


  • Hovory Konfuciovy (with Vincenc Lesný). 1940.
  • Zpěvy staré Číny (with Bohumil Mathesius).
  • Dějiny lidstva . 1940.
  • Lu Sün (Lǔ Xùn): Vřava .
  • Putování starého chromce .
  • Pchu Sung-ling ( Pú Sōnglíng ): Zkazky o šesteru cest osudu .
  • Mistr Sun: O umění válečném a Podivuhodné příběhy z čínských tržišť a bazarů .
  • The jade goddess. 12 stories from medieval China . (with Felicitas Wünschová, Liane Bettin and Marianne Liebermann)


  • Milena Doleželová-Velingerová: Jaroslav Průšek 1906–2006 ve vzpomínkách přátel . Prague: DharmaGaia, 2006.
  • Jiří Šíma, Augustin Palát: Jaroslav Průšek, 1931–1991 . Prague: OÚ AV ČR, 1994.
  • Augustin Palát: Jaroslav Průšek (on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of his birth). In: Archiv orientální 59 (1991) pp. 105–115.
  • Leo Ou-fan Lee: Reminiscences of Professor Jaroslav Průšek. In: Archiv orientální 59 (1991) pp. 116–119.
  • Ge Baoquan: Professor J. Průšek in my recollections. In: Archiv orientální 59 (1991) pp. 120–121.
  • Marián Gálik: Jaroslav Průšek: A Myth and Reality as Seen by His Pupil In: Asian and African Studies 7.2 (1998) pp. 151–161.
  • Herbert Franke: Jaroslav Průšek (September 14, 1906 - April 7, 1980). In: Yearbook of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences 1980.

Web links


  1. ^ Michael Gotz: The Development of Modern Chinese Literatures Studies in the West. In: Modern China 2.3 (July 1976) p. 404.
  2. Gálik 1998, p. 151.
  3. Jaroslav Průšek: Basic Problems of the History of Modern Chinese Literature. A Review of C .T. Hsia, A History of Modern Chinese Fiction. In: T? Oung Pao 49 (1962), pp. 357-404, and CT Hsia: On the Scientific Study of Modern Chinese Literature. A Reply to Professor Průšek. In: T? Oung Pao 50 (1963) pp. 428-474.