Alfred Forke

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Alfred Forke (1923)

Alfred Forke (* 12 January 1867 in Schöningen; † 9 July 1944 in Hamburg) was a German sinologist.

He attended grammar school in Magdeburg. After studying law at the Universities of Geneva and Berlin, passing the first state law examination and receiving his doctorate in law in 1889 in Rostock, as well as preliminary language training at the Seminar for Oriental Languages, Forke was a Chinese interpreter in the consular service in Peking from 1890 to 1903.

In 1903 he became a professor at the Seminar for Oriental Languages in Berlin, succeeding his former teacher Carl Arendt. As successor to Otto Franke, he moved to the University of Hamburg in 1923. There he headed the chair dedicated to China until 1935. In 1926 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Leipzig.[1] In November 1933 he signed the declaration of German professors to Adolf Hitler.

Forke’s research focus was Chinese philosophy. His three-volume history of Chinese philosophy is considered a “pioneering work”.[2]

Publications (selection)

  • Chinese poetry flowers
  • Mê Ti: of the social ethicist and his pupils philosophical works (1922)
  • Lun-Hêng
  • Thought World of Chinese Culture (1927)
  • History of Ancient Chinese Philosophy (1927)(excerpt at Google Books)
  • History of Medieval Chinese Philosophy (1934)(excerpt at Google Books)
  • History of Modern Chinese Philosophy (1938)(excerpt at Google Books)
  • Chinese dramas of the Yüan dynasty : ten posthumous translations by Alfred Forke, edited by Martin Gimm. Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1978
  • Two Chinese Singspiels of the Qing Dynasty, edited by Martin Gimm, Wiesbaden, Steiner (1993)
  • Eleven Chinese Singspiel Texts from Recent Times together with Two Dramas in Western Style, edited by Martin Gimm, Wiesbaden, Steiner (1993)


  • Erich Haenisch: Alfred Forke, In: ZDMG, Volume 99 (1945-49) ULB Halle
  • Herbert Franke:Forke, Ernst Conrad Alfred. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9, p. 300 (Digitalisat).
  • Bergit Korschan-Kuhle: Forke, Ernst Conrad Alfred. In: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck, Günter Scheel (eds.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon. 19. and 20th century. Hahn, Hannover 1996, ISBN 3-7752-5838-8, p. 182.

Web links

Individual references

  1. Directory of honorary doctorates.Archive of the University of Leipzig, retrieved on 6 November 2020 (order by graduation year).
  2. Philosophical Yearbook 62 (1953) 219.