||For various reasons-political as well as academic-the scope and significance of Hu Shi's and Gu Jiegang's works on Chinese vernacular literary histories in the context of 'Doubting of Antiquity Line of Thought' (yigu sichao) have not received much attention since their appearance. The long-time debates on Book of Songs (Shijing) since the 12th century, in particular, had greatly inspired Hu's and Gu's critique and reconstruction of Chinese literary and cultural tradition. This dissertation investigates how the Shijing hermeneutics, along with Dewey's experimentalism, provided the conceptual foundation in Hu's and Gu's rereading of Chinese literary tradition. By so doing, it is an attempt to re-assess both Hu's and Gu's roles as literary historians in the May Fourth era. This dissertation studies Hu and Gu in terms of their relationship as mentor/student and rivals. Whereas Hu Shi canonized Ming and Qing vernacular fictions in his rewriting of literary history, Gu Jiegang turned to the even more neglected genres of folklore and folk song and created his own subversive version of 'Baihua' literary history. Together, through the construction of a vernacular literary history, they embarked on a re-evaluation of Chinese cultural values. While not embracing a 'totalistic antitraditionalism', their projects are clearly attempts at an invention and re-definition of literary/cultural tradition at a time of national crisis. In this light, they can be regarded as expressions of a nationalism. This dissertation thus argues that writing of literary history, as an academic enterprise, is a cultural product inseparable from the political and the social of a particular milieu.