The Hall of Three Pines: An Account of My Life by Yu-Lan Feng, Denis C. Mair

By Yu-Lan Feng, Denis C. Mair

Feng Youlan (1895-1990) used to be twentieth-century China's top unique thinker in addition to its most advantageous historian of chinese language philosophy. In his preface to The corridor of 3 Pines, Feng likens his autobiography to bills written by means of "authors of precedent days, [who] on finishing their significant works, frequently wrote a separate piece to recount their origins and studies, giving the final plan in their paintings, and pointing out their aims".

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They were like people who were so used to the lunar calendar that they had to convert dates from the solar calendar to get a clear idea of them. Under the Qing educational system, there were primary academies in the county seats, advanced academies in provincial capitals, and an advanced institute in the national capital. Just as there were three levels of schools, there were three levels of awards in the civil examinations. Bachelors of letters degrees were awarded at the county level; masters of letters degrees were awarded at the provincial level; and the doctorate of letters was awarded at the national level.

3 Huang Kan was excellent at reading poems and prose aloud. When he finished explaining an essay or poem, he would read it loudly in modulated, rhythmic tones that were a delight to hear. As he read, his listeners read aloud after him. ” In the evenings, “the Huang style” could be heard everywhere in the dormitories. Huang Kan often had students write poems on assigned topics. One student in the literature department could not write poems, so he asked me to write some for him. I wrote a few poems in the manner of the “Nineteen Poems in the Old Style,”4 which he copied out and handed in.

10 I think this is the correct explanation of the sentence in The Analects. In slaveholding society, slaves as well as aristocrats probably took part in rituals. Slaves who understood the rituals could help the aristocrats deal with the occasion. That was a digression, so I’ll get back to the subject. The county’s advanced primary academy had some things in common with the old county academies. Under the educational system of the Ming and Qing, each county had its academy. There were two officials in charge of a county academy: the district director and the sub-director.

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