MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Sean Macdonald’s review of China Imagined: From European Fantasy to Spectacular Power, by Gregory B. Lee. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/sean-macdonald. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk Denton, editor
By Gregory B. Lee
Reviewed by Sean Macdonald
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright September, 2020)
Elderly people, or honest people, all seem to adhere to the motto “the name is guest of the thing.” But being neither an elderly person, nor wishing to immodestly declare myself an honest person, I have sometimes put more emphasis on “name” than “thing.” I feel that in many everyday experiences, a “name” is anything but ordinary. Under appropriate conditions, it can increase the value of the “thing” it represents. On the other hand, under inappropriate conditions, no matter how beautiful, elevated, or respected a thing is, a “name” can devalue the “thing” it represents. As for myself, with regard to putting stress on “name,” I have really not understood what it’s for.–Shi Zhecun
There was an obsession with graft among officials. Many regulatory and supervisory methods are outlined, with itemized punishments for specific infractions. In a typical example, punishment is exacted for the discovery of poorly maintained granaries: we learn that when it comes to the Law, three mouseholes are equal to one rathole.–Dean and Massumi
Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing/Through the graves the wind is blowing/Freedom soon will come/Then we’ll come from the shadows.–Leonard Cohen/Hy Zaret, “The Partisan.”
French Sinology and American and British colonial history share a date. The Battle of Lundy’s Lane, in the Niagara Falls region now shared by the US and Canada, occurred in 1814, the same year the first “Chair in Chinese and Tartar-Manchurian Languages and Literatures” was established at Collège de France. American Chinese studies emerged from European Sinology, but like the US, Britain only started professionalizing “Orientalist” Chinese studies during WWII.
Professor of Chinese at Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 and Director of Institut d’études transtextuelles et transculturelles (IETT), Gregory B. Lee has been writing and teaching in Chinese studies since the 1980s. In 2011, Lee was elected a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities. His work ranges from critical studies and translations of modern and contemporary literature, popular music and media, to recent autobiographical stories around his grandfather, an early twentieth century immigrant to Liverpool, as well as a dystopic fictional narrative of China in 2030. Lee’s writing could be described as a critique of state cultural policies in China and the West. In an earlier book, Chinas Unlimited, Lee shows the way racism created two separate British policies towards opium, one banning opium for English citizens, and one promoting the sale of opium to Chinese people. Continue reading