Michael Loewe in 2005[note 1]
|Born||2 November 1922|
|Education||SOAS, University of London (1st)|
SOAS, University of London (PhD)
Michael Arthur Nathan Loewe (born 2 November 1922) is a British Sinologist, historian, and writer who has authored dozens of books, articles, and other publications in the fields of Classical Chinese and ancient Chinese history.
Michael Loewe was born on 2 November 1922 in Oxford, England, to a distinguished Anglo-Jewish family. Loewe's great-grandfather Louis Loewe (1809–1888) was a Prussian Silesian professor of Oriental studies and theology who later emigrated to Britain, and was the personal secretary of the prominent British Jewish businessman, financier, and philanthropist Moses Montefiore. Loewe's father, Herbert Loewe, was a professor of the Semitic languages who taught at both Cambridge University and Oxford University, while his mother, Ethel Victoria Hyamson, was a sister of the British official and historian Albert Hyamson. His elder brother Raphael Loewe (1919–2011) was, like their father, a scholar of Semitic languages, and was a professor of Hebrew and Jewish studies at University College London. Loewe was married to Carmen Blacker, a scholar in the Japanese language.
Loewe attended secondary school at The Perse School in Cambridge, then entered university at Magdalen College, Oxford. Due to the Second World War, Loewe left Oxford in 1942 to train as a Japanese specialist officer in the Government Communications Headquarters, while studying Mandarin Chinese in his spare time. During a six-month stay in Beijing in 1947, Loewe became interested in traditional and historical Chinese topics, which he began studying at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London after returning to Britain. He received a first class honours degree in 1951, and in 1956 he left the government to serve as a Lecturer in the History of the Far East at the University of London. SOAS awarded him a PhD in 1963, and he subsequently joined the faculty at Cambridge, where he taught until retiring in 1990 to focus solely on research and scholarship. He is a fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge.
A unique award in Loewe's honour exists at Cambridge: the "Michael Loewe Prize" may be awarded annually to one or more undergraduate candidates who have achieved distinction in literary Chinese.