Speaking to History: The Story of King Goujian in Twentieth-Century China / Edition 1

Speaking to History: The Story of King Goujian in Twentieth-Century China / Edition 1

by Paul A. Cohen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520265831

ISBN-13: 9780520265837

Pub. Date: 05/11/2010

Publisher: University of California Press

The ancient story of King Goujian, a psychologically complex fifth-century BCE monarch, spoke powerfully to the Chinese during China's turbulent twentieth century. Yet most Americans—even students and specialists of this era—have never heard of Goujian. In Speaking to History, Paul A. Cohen opens this previously missing (to the West) chapter of

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Overview

The ancient story of King Goujian, a psychologically complex fifth-century BCE monarch, spoke powerfully to the Chinese during China's turbulent twentieth century. Yet most Americans—even students and specialists of this era—have never heard of Goujian. In Speaking to History, Paul A. Cohen opens this previously missing (to the West) chapter of China's recent history. He connects the story to each of the major traumas of the last century, tracing its versatility as a source of inspiration and hope and elegantly exploring, on a more general level, why such stories often remain sealed up within a culture, unknown to outsiders. Labeling this phenomenon "insider cultural knowledge," Cohen investigates the relationship between past story and present reality. He inquires why at certain moments in their collective lives peoples are especially drawn to narratives from the distant past that resonate strongly with their current circumstances, and why the Chinese have returned over and over to a story from twenty-five centuries ago. In this imaginative stitching of story to history, Cohen reveals how the shared narratives of a community help to define its culture and illuminate its history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520265837
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Series:
Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes Series
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments

1. The Goujian Story in Antiquity
2. The Burden of National Humiliation: Late Qing and Republican Years
3. The Plight of Chiang Kai-shek's Taiwan
4. Crisis and Response: The Woxin changdan Fever of the Early 1960s
5. Political Allegory in the 1980s: Xiao Jun and Bai Hua
6. The Goujian Story in a Privatizing China
Conclusion: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Notes
Character List
Bibliography

Index

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