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Home and the World

Home and the World: Editing the Glorious Ming in Woodblock-Printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Yuming He
Volume: 82
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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    Home and the World
    Book Description:

    China’s sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an unprecedented explosion in the production and circulation of woodblock-printed books. What can surviving traces of that era’s print culture reveal about the makers and consumers of these books? Home and the World addresses this question by carefully examining a wide range of late Ming books, considering them not merely as texts, but as material objects and economic commodities designed, produced, and marketed to stand out in the distinctive book marketplace of the time, and promising high enjoyment and usefulness to readers. Although many of the mass-market commercial imprints studied here might have struck scholars from the eighteenth century on as too trivial, lowbrow, or slipshod to merit serious study, they prove to be an invaluable resource, providing insight into their readers’ orientations toward the increasingly complex global stage of early modernity and toward traditional Chinese conceptions of textual, political, and moral authority. On a more intimate scale, they tell us about readers’ ideals of a fashionable and pleasurable private life. Through studying these works, we come closer to recapturing the trend-conscious, sophisticated, and often subversive ways readers at this important moment in China’s history imagined their world and their place within it. 2015 Joseph Levenson Book Prize, Pre-1900 Category, China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies

    eISBN: 978-1-68417-066-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History, Business
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Illustrations (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. XIII-XVI)
  5. Introduction (pp. 1-16)

    The above comment on the unreliable and bastardized nature of a book known asYiyu tuzhi異域圈志 (Illustrated record of foreign lands) is found in theGeneral Catalogaccompanying the massive eighteenth-centurySiku quanshu四庫全書 (Complete library of the four treasuries) compilation, the last and grandest of a succession of imperially sanctioned efforts to collect and account for the totality of worthwhile books in China. In the above passage, theSikueditor presents the rationale for concluding that theYiyu tuzhihas no lasting value, and the text was accordingly excluded from the compilation. The attitude of theSikueditors...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Boxiao zhuji and the World of Late Ming Popular Texts (pp. 17-73)

    My survey of the world of late Ming textual culture begins with a publication entitledBoxiao zhuji博笑珠機 (Pearls to evoke laughter, see fig. 1.1). Compiled sometime during or after the Jiajing reign (1521-66), this text subsequently went through multiple block editions,¹ including one printed by Xiong Chongyu 秀沖宇 (fl. Wanli reign) of a printshop known as the Zhongde tang 種急堂 in Jianyang, Fujian,² and another marked as a production of a printshop called the Wende tang 文急堂.³ In this chapter, I will examine an exemplar of a Wende tang edition.⁴ At first glimpse this text might seem an odd...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Page and Stage: Drama Miscellanies and Their Milieu (pp. 74-139)

    Many texts included in theBoxiao zhujialso appear in a variety of other Ming woodblock books.¹ In this chapter I expand the focus of discussion from the single bookBoxiao zhujito the broader space of publication genres within which these materials typically circulated. One of the most distinctive such genres of late Ming commercial publications is the one modern scholars refer to as the “drama miscellany” (xiqu zashu戲曲雜書), which enjoyed wide popularity from the Wanli reign to the early Qing.²

    As was the case with theHuang Ming shixuan, the editors of Ming commercial publications played an...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Poetics of Error: Repetition and Novelty in the Age of Woodblock (Re)production (pp. 140-201)

    This book opened with an example of how the editors of the eighteenth-centurySiku quanshuproject used the termbaifan, which I rendered as “hucksterish,” to point to a complex of traits in Ming book culture that they found repugnant. For them, the term signaled irresponsible transfer and transmission of text, particularly sloppiness with regard to verifying the most authentic version of an original book (ben shu本書) for reference in study, citation, or in producing new editions. The seeming willingness of Ming editors to use whichever version of a book lay most readily to hand, and the hodge-podge fashion...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Book and the Barbarian: A History of the Luochong lu (pp. 202-244)

    In a text entitledRecord of Grand Lessons to Wake the Errant (Da yi jue mi lu大義覺迷錄), the Yongzheng emperor (r. 1723-36) of the Manchu Qing dynasty argued that the Chinese wordyi夷 (commonly translated as “foreign” or “barbarian”) was merely an archaic equivalent of the latter-day word for “birthplace” and thus ought not be thought insulting to Manchu sensibilities. The practice of some early Qing authors, who had self-censored their writings by avoiding the term, however, suggests that they indeed had felt its connotations to be problematic.¹ Whatever the success of Yongzheng’s attempt to lay to rest...

  10. CONCLUSION Home and the World: Editing Ming China (pp. 245-254)

    Figure C.1 is a typical frontispiece illustration for a division in a dailyuse encyclopedia: it presents a lively image designed to entice the reader, drawing on a visual language whose conventional associations suggest the space of circulation and use of the texts to appear within. The central figure is an itinerant peddler, one of the sorts of cultural intermediaries who have been the heroes of this study. This peddler is seen selling poem-fans (shishan詩扇) to a group of three women. Holding a brush poised to write in one hand, he is depicted in the act of inscribing a poem...

  11. APPENDIX ONE Other Known Titles by Makers of Drama Miscellanies (pp. 255-260)
  12. APPENDIX TWO The “Classic of Whoring”: Demimonde Fantasy and the Formation of the Ming Vernacular (pp. 261-274)
  13. NOTES (pp. 275-310)
  14. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 311-330)
  15. Index (pp. 331-344)
  16. Back Matter (pp. 345-352)