Author:LIU Yunhua, Professor and Director of the Center of Comparative Literature and World Litrature, College of Humanities and Communications, Shanghai Normal University.
This study focuses on the relation of literati in Dongwu (Eastern China) with Western culture in the early to mid Qing. The paper considers the missionary activities of the various Catholic bodies in Dongwu, especially the Jesuits, in the period, and firstly discusses the evaluation and response of literati in Dongwu outside of the Catholic Church to the church and its missionaries, bringing to light new material on Chen Mingxia, Gu Yanwu, and Peng Shidu, among others. Secondly, the paper explores the literati’s response to Western science and technology, pointing out that “Surpassing the West” was a sign of “political correctness” at the time, especially regarding the calendric system, but that the ancient Chinese calendric and mathematical knowledge were actually highlighted by western science. Finally, on the basis of the study of imagery in comparative literature, the paper argues that the image of the western “other” described by the literati often expressed the thoughts and emotions of the Dongwu “self”.
Early and Mid Qing, Dongwu Literati, Catholic, Calendric system, Western artifacts
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