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Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500-1800 / Edition 1

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Overview

For too long, the history of contact between China and the West has been portrayed as a one-sided encounter: Europeans were said to have "discovered" China, while Chinese responses to the West went largely unnoticed. In this book, D.E. Mungello dispels the myth that China was a silent partner in the dialogue between Eastern and Western civilizations. Although they did not reciprocate in sending ships, cultural emissaries, or religious missionaries westward, neither did the Chinese passively accept Europe's enthusiastic embrace of their culture, arts, and manufactures. Aspects of Western art, language, science, and religion made significant inroads into Chinese culture, which are only recently coming to the attention of Western historians. And at a time when the West is once again setting its sights on strengthening ties with China, Mungello's work offers crucial historical perspective. It reminds us that the political and economic dominance of the West is actually characteristic of only the past two centuries, prior to which it was China that led the world in terms of economic and political development, and in the sophistication of its high culture and technological achievement. This concise and well-written text will make a wonderful addition to reading lists in East Asian or Chinese History classes, as well as courses on World History.
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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Mungello's work provides a welcome addition to the literature on the early period of the Sino-Western encounter. . . . Mungello combines admirable concision with astute insights into the complexities of class, culture, and religion, both within China and among the Westerners vying for trade, influence, and souls there.
— C. A. Desnoyers
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Ingenious textbook . . . stepping back into the period 1500-1800 must represent the wave of the future, and it is good to see such a thought-provoking example of the practice here already.
— T. H. Barrett, University of London
Catholic Historical Review
Mungello has written an excellent summary on Chinese-Western relations (1500-1800). An essential book for historical, theological, and mission libraries, graduate and undergraduate students.
— Robert E. Carbonneau, C. P
China Review International
The brevity of Mungello's book might suggest that it was meant only for freshmen-level surveys of world history or Chinese and/or Western history;
however, this book, with its wealth of information and insight, can well serve upper-level students embarking on a more in-depth study of the problem of Sino-Western cultural interaction and interpretation, and general readers who seek to enhance their understanding of China and the profound misunderstandings that have so frequently characterized Sino-Western encounter in the past. . . . This [study] is the product of considerable erudition as well as interpretive sensitivity.
Journal of World History
Small wonder that the admirable Jonathan Spence himself praises this book as an 'admirable introduction to the great period of China's interactions with the West'. Professor Mungello's work is a virtual parade of scholarly observations and analyses of an intricate series of ethereal intercultural exchanges between Ming and Manchu China, and Enlightenment Europe. He interprets these three centuries of give-and-take through the lenses of religion and the arts. His work is chock-full of widely revealing detail of the cultural, intellectual, and religious interplay that had, at times, as much effect on the contributor as the recipient.
Journal Of Oriental Studies
...a very good book. It is well written and interesting.
Choice
Mungello's work provides a welcome addition to the literature on the early period of the Sino-Western encounter. . . . Mungello combines admirable concision with astute insights into the complexities of class, culture, and religion, both within China and among the Westerners vying for trade, influence, and souls there.
— C. A. Desnoyers
Journal of Oriental Studies
...a very good book. It is well written and interesting.
CHOICE - C. A. Desnoyers
Mungello's work provides a welcome addition to the literature on the early period of the Sino-Western encounter. . . . Mungello combines admirable concision with astute insights into the complexities of class, culture, and religion, both within China and among the Westerners vying for trade, influence, and souls there.
Wm. Theodore de Bary
No one is more qualified to deal with the Encounter of China and the West 1500-1800 than David Mungello, who has devoted a lifetime to its study and indeed has long since established himself as the prime leader in Sino-Western studies in America.
John Henderson
Mungello's book presents a lucid, concise, and absorbing account of the first great intellectual encounter between China and Europe, which is both fully accessible to the general reader and challenging to specialists. Not only is it the best available synthetic treatment of this large and important subject, but it also covers facets of the great encounter that are often neglected, such as the aesthetic.
Jonathan Spence
In this admirable introduction to the great period of China's interactions with the West, D. E. Mungello condenses a lifetime of study into a concise and accessible form. Especially valuable are his analyses of mutual artistic influences, of theories of language and race, and of the internal rivalries that split both Chinese intellectuals and the Catholic Church.
Daniel H. Bays
Mungello, one of the world's leading authorities on early modern Sino-Western cultural relations, draws on his own lifelong research and mature interpretive views as well as the work of other scholars to provide us with a concise but rich analysis.
Edwin Van Kley
I am impressed with the depth of the scholarship which informs the descriptions, generalizations, and judgments presented so lucidly in the text. While its subject matter is serious and sometimes complex, it is clearly written in an engaging style and is easily understandable.
Anthony P. DiPerna
I was impressed with the author's erudition and facile writing. The book is scholarly, clear and interesting—a marvelous achievement that makes it ideal for my students.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) - T. H. Barrett
Ingenious textbook . . . stepping back into the period 1500-1800 must represent the wave of the future, and it is good to see such a thought-provoking example of the practice here already.
Catholic Historical Review - Robert E. Carbonneau
Mungello has written an excellent summary on Chinese-Western relations (1500-1800). An essential book for historical, theological, and mission libraries, graduate and undergraduate students.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847694402
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: Critical Issues History Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

D.E. Mungello is professor of history and director of Asian Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Historical Overview Chapter 2 Chinese Acceptance of Western Culture and Christianity Chapter 3 Chinese Rejection of Western Culture and Christianity Chapter 4 European Acceptance of Chinese Culture and Confucianism Chapter 5 European Rejection of Chinese Culture and Confucianism
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