Étienne Balazs

Étienne Balazs (born István Balázs; 24 January 1905 – 29 November 1963) was a Hungarian-born French sinologist.

Étienne Balazs
Balázs István

(1905-01-24)January 24, 1905
DiedNovember 29, 1963(1963-11-29) (aged 58)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Berlin
Academic work
DisciplineChinese history
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Major works

  • Le traité économique du "Soueichou", (Leiden: Brill, 1953). Google Book.
  • Le traité juridique du "Soueichou", 1954.
  • Chinese Civilization and Bureaucracy; Variations on a Theme. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964). Translated by H. M. Wright. Edited by Arthur F. Wright. Google Book. Reprints a selection from Balazs' major articles:
Pt I INSTITUTIONS: • Significant Aspects of Chinese Society • China as a Permanently Bureaucratic Society • Chinese Feudalism • The birth of capitalism in China • Fairs in China • Chinese Towns • Marco Polo in the Capital of China • Evolution of Landownership in Fourth and Fifth Century China • Landownership from the Fourth to the Fourteenth Century
Pt II HISTORY • History as a Guide to Bureaucratic Practive • Tradition and Revolution in China
PT III THOUGHT • Two Songs by Ts' ao Ts' ao • Political Philosophy and Social Crisis at the end of the Han Dynasty • Nihilistic Revolt or Mystical Escapism • A Forerunner of Wang Anshi.
  • Political Theory and Administrative Reality in Traditional China. (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1965). With an Introduction by Denis Twitchett
  • Histoire et institutions de la Chine ancienne des origines au XIIe siècle après J. C., 1967 (with H. Maspero).
  • La Bureaucratie Céleste, Recherches Sur L'économie Et La Société De La Chine Traditionnelle. (Paris: Gallimard, Bibliothèque Des Sciences Humaines, 1968). Revised translation of a collection of articles originally published as Chinese civilization and bureaucracy.
  • Françoise Aubin, Balazs Etienne. Etudes Song. In Memoriam Etienne Balazs. (Paris: Mouton, 1970). ISBN 2713203724.
  • with Yves Hervouet. A Sung Bibliography. (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1978). ISBN 9622011586.


  • Paul Demiéville, "Étienne Balazs (1905-1963)," T'oung Pao 51.2/3 (1964): 247-261.JSTOR
  • Harriet T Zurndorfer, "Not Bound to China: Etienne Balazs, Fernand Braudel and the Politics of the Study of Chinese History in Post-War France," Past & Present 185.1 (2004): 189-221.
  • Conrad Schirokauer, "Balazs on China." Journal of the History of Ideas 26.4 (1965): 593-597. JSTOR
  • Wolfgang Franke, "Etienne Balazs in Memoriam," Oriens Extremus XII (1965).

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