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The Wens in Changzhou:How Heritage of a Scholarly Family Contributed to the Making of a Great Master

YANG Sheng(College of Literature,Soochow University,Suzhou 215123,China)  
The Wens were a well-known family of scholars in Changzhou County during the Ming and Qing dynasties(1368-1911).The family rose in mid Ming,its ancestors having served in the army.After moving to Suzhou,however,its members started to give up the sword for the pen: among its second-generation descendants in Suzhou,Wen Hong(1426-1479) passed the provincial civil service examination;in its third generation,Wen Lin(1445-1499) and Wen Sen(1464-1525),who were brothers,passed the highest imperial examinations;to its fourth generation,there was Wen Zhengming(1470-1559),a great master of cultural studies.The most eminent figure of his family,Wen Zhengming undoubtedly marked the pinnacle of the Wens in Suzhou.As his success was not something haphazard,the present paper,from a perspective of the internal surroundings of the family and by means of probing into its cultural evolution after moving to Suzhou,explores how the natural and nurturing conditions of the family contributed to the success of its members.
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