Preservation of Learning. With an Introduction on His Life and Thought


Yen Yüan [1635-1704] "... has an enduring place in the history of pre-modern Chinese thought. No one before him had so vigorously opposed the speculative Neo-Confucianism which dominated Chinese thought for several centuries, and no one had stressed practical experience so forcefully. These two aspects were well expressed in his Ts’un-hsüeh pien (Preservation of Learning), although his criticism of the Neo-Confucian concepts of human nature was more systematically expressed in his Ts’un-hsing pien (Preservation of Human Nature).


The publication of an English translation, especially a good translation, of the Ts’un-hsüeh pien will certainly contribute considerably to the scholarship of pre-modern Chinese thought. With the help by Professor Chi-chen Wang, Mr. Mansfield Freeman’s translation is not only very accurate ... but much more readable than the original text."

Harry Hsin-i Hsiao in Journal of the American Oriental Society




Introduction (Biography of Yen Yüan) 

Yen Yüan’s Thought

  1. Education and Cultivation of Mind
  2. Human Nature
  3. Government and Religion

Bibliographical Note on the Preservation of Learning and Yen’s Other Writings

Translation of Yen Yüan’s Preservation of Learning

List of Books Quoted

Glossary of Important Chinese Names and Terms




Monumenta Serica
Monograph Series XVI

ISSN 0179-261X