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The Chan's Great Continent

China in Western Minds

Jonathan D. Spence (Author, Yale University)

 

"Like everything else written by Jonathan Spence, The Chan's Great Continent is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in China. Spence is one of the greatest Sinologists of our time, and his work is both authoritative and highly readable." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

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

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 1999
  • ISBN 978-0-393-31989-7
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 304 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Also by Jonathan D. Spence All

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  2. Book CoverGod's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

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  3. Book CoverThe Search for Modern China

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