Hu Shih 胡適 (Pinyin Hú Shì [1891-1962]) is widely regarded as one of the most important Chinese intellectuals of the 20th century. As such, he is known as the "Father of the Chinese Renaissance". In my estimation, Hu Shih was the single most influential post-imperial thinker and writer in China. His accomplishments were so numerous and multifarious that it is hard to imagine how one man could have been responsible for all of them.
Before proceeding, I would like to call attention to "Hu Shih: An Appreciation" by Jerome B. Grieder, which gives a sensitive assessment of the man and his enormous impact on Chinese thought and culture. Another poignant recollection is Mark Swofford's "Remembering Hu Shih: 1891-1962", which focuses on aspects of Hu's monumental advancement of literary and linguistic transformation in China. For those who want to learn more about this giant of a thinker and writer, I recommend Grieder's biography, Hu Shih and the Chinese Renaissance: Liberalism in the Chinese Revolution, 1917-1937 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970) and A Pragmatist and His Free Spirit: the half-century romance of Hu Shi & Edith Clifford Williams (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2009) by Susan Chan Egan and Chih-p'ing Chou.
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