Chinese Roundabout by Jonathan D. Spence
Essays in History and Culture

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Synopsis

In the work of twenty-five years, Jonathan Spence has established himself as an interpreter of modern Chinese history. His most recent book was "The Search for Modern China". Spence recreates the historical character and setting in the moving story of Arcadio Huang's odyssey from south China to Enlightenment Paris, where he briefly gains a foothold in an alien culture but then is tragically undermined; takes a Shakespearean approach to the life of the great Qing emperor K'ang-hsi; informs the reader on China's tragic experience with opium; and describes the splendours of food in Chinese culture.
 

About Jonathan D. Spence

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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.
 
Published June 1, 1992 by W W Norton & Co Inc. 414 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Secure in this waterside stronghold, the insurgents built their New Jerusalem, bowdlerized the Old Testament (mainly to give Jesus a less reproachable lineage), and threatened to overrun all of South China.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Many of these essays and reviews, previously published in both scholarly and nonscholarly journals, were inspired by Western inquirers of yore like 16th-century Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci and novelist AndrÇ Malraux, both subjects of essays in an opening section entitled ``Crossing the Culture...

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Publishers Weekly

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Finally defeated by a Manchu army and a force of volunteers under British Army officer Charles ``Chinese'' Gordon after 11 years of rebellion, Hong's movement left 20 million dead in its wake.

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Publishers Weekly

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Yale history professor Spence, a noted China expert, and his wife, Chin, who teaches intellectual and cultural history at Yale, have produced a stirring, spectacular political and social chronicle indispensable to understanding modern China.

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Publishers Weekly

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Spence's intellectually adventurous essays help us understand the dynamics of China's past and the dormant promise of its future.

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The New York Review of Books

In their preface of 1978 to Volume Ten, the first to appear, the general editors, the late John King Fairbank of Harvard and Denis Twitchett of Princeton, wrote that from the beginning of this century other Cambridge histories have set the pattern for such surveys, and that theirs, originally pla...

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