Sun Yat-Sen His Life and Its Meaning: A Critical Biography

By Lyon Sharman | Go to book overview

APPENDIX C
Sources and Authorities

I. THE TERRAIN AND ITS PITFALLS

If restrictions upon freedom of speech present difficulties to a biographer of Sun Yat-sen, the written sources, too, have their limitations. First of all one must reckon with the character of the biographies already published.

The earliest appeared in London immediately after the success of the republican Revolution -- Sun Yat Sen and the Awakening of China by James Cantlie and C. Sheridan Jones. Dr. Cantlie had known Sun Yat- sen personally, and that which seems to be his contribution to the book is useful, but it is a slender part supplemented by many optimistic pages on China and the Chinese, lacking biographical value. Unfortunately for my purposes, the book was published in 1912, when neither the career of Sun Yat-sen nor the awakening of China had more than got under way.

The second of the biographies in English was also written too soon -- Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese Republic by Paul Linebarger. Sun Yat-sen authorized Judge Linebarger to produce a biography and coöperated with him. A reviewer characterized the result as the life of Sun Yat-sen as he himself wished to have it written. Certainly, it is eulogistic to a degree. While giving an altogether disproportionate space to childhood and youth, it omits vitally important ranges of mature life. Ile relation of events comes to an inconclusive end about 1920; the climax of Sun Yat-sen's life came after that.

Whereas Judge Linebarger placed his reliance upon Sun Yat-sen personally for material, a more recent biographer, Bishop Restarick, has drawn upon Chinese who knew Sun Yat-sen. He made this venture, be it stated, in Honolulu, at a safe distance from the disciplinary arm of the

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