The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds

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W. W. Norton & Company, Oct 1, 1999 - History - 279 pages
10 Reviews
China has transfixed the West since the earliest contacts between these civilizations. With his characteristic elegance and insight, Jonathan Spence explores how the West has understood China over seven centuries. Ranging from Marco Polo's own depiction of China and the mighty Khan, Kublai, in the 1270s to the China sightings of three twentieth-century writers of acknowledged genius-Kafka, Borges, and Calvino-Spence conveys Western thought on China through a remarkable array of expression. Peopling Spence's account are Iberian adventurers, Enlightenment thinkers, spinners of the dreamy cult of Chinoiserie, and American observers such as Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Ezra Pound, and Eugene O'Neill. Taken together, these China sightings tell us as much about the self-image of the West as about China. "Wonderful. . . . Spence brilliantly demonstrates [how] generation after generation of Westerners [have] asked themselves, 'What is it . . . that held this astonishing, diverse, and immensely populous land together?' " - New York Times Book Review
 

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Review: The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds

User Review  - Jamie Gillespie - Goodreads

I love the approach he takes with this book. The various western perspectives if China, and the beliefs and experiences that led to them, are explained and examined. Excellent, intelligent writing. Read full review

Review: The Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds

User Review  - Goodreads

I love the approach he takes with this book. The various western perspectives if China, and the beliefs and experiences that led to them, are explained and examined. Excellent, intelligent writing. Read full review

Contents

III
1
IV
19
V
41
VI
62
VII
81
VIII
101
IX
122
X
145
XI
165
XII
187
XIII
206
XIV
226
XV
243
XVI
263
XVII
267
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About the author (1999)

Jonathan D. Spence was born in England and received his B.A. from Cambridge University. In 1966 he received his Ph.D. from Yale University and has been a professor of Chinese history there since that time. Spence has won a variety of major fellowships and has served as visiting professor at Belfast's Queens University, Princeton University, and Beijing University. He employs a distinctive writing and historical style, weaving together various kinds of materials to fashion new forms of historical narrative. The best examples of his unique style are The Death of Woman Wang (1979) and The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci. In his works, Spence provides a uniquely accessible vision of late imperial China. His writings have won numerous awards and prizes. The Gate of Heavenly Peace (1982) won two awards---the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Henry D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters.

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