By Joseph R. Levenson
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Additional info for Confucian China and its Modern Fate (The Problem of Historical Significance, Volume 3)
He saw Wang as a selfish plunderer, and Hu Shih's references to Wang as a 'socialist emperor' met with contemptuous rejection. 64 Given these premises, the communists were quite distinct, too, from sentimental radicals of the Liao Chung-k'ai variety. Although Liao's widow, in a memoir published in Peking in 1957, wrote loyally of his feelings of nearness to communists whom he knew in Canton in the early 20s—Mao Tse-tung (b. 1893), Chou En-lai (b. 65 In 1961, a selection of Liao's writings was published under official auspices in Canton.
Open controversy was possible on the issue of whether slave society was Shang only, or Shang and Hsia before it (Hsia, interestingly enough, being the Confucian-traditional 'first dynasty', though archaeologically not yet identified), or Shang and its successor, Western Chou, or even on through Eastern Chou and Ch'in and Han. 6 But intellectually, too, this was the sort ofthing he meant. 6 49 T H E P L A C I N G OF T H E CHINESE COMMUNISTS However, when Chien went on to say that there could be no question whether a stage existed, no one seems to have demurred.
Neither critic nor exegete takes a text at face value, but they differ in what they do to it. The critic has an air of detachment and uncommitted intellect, and tends to see opaqueness in a text or unintelligibility as a likely sign of corruption. The exegete feels challenged by the text and moved by its problems to draw out of it a truth which the words only partly expose, a truth or essential content which could take form in other words. The critic of Mencius asks what he says, and sees unauthentic history.