Writing China

Writing China

Essays on the Amherst Embassy (1816) and Sino-British Cultural Relations

Edited by Peter J. Kitson, Robert Markley





New essays on the cultural representations of the relationship between Britain and China in the nineteenth century, focussing on the Amherst diplomatic problem.
On 29 August 1816, Lord Amherst, exhausted after travelling overnight during an embassy to China, was roughly handled in an attempt to compel him to attend an immediate audience with the Jiaqing Emperor at the Summer Palace of Yuanming Yuan. Fatigued and separated from his diplomatic credentials and ambassadorial robes, Amherst resisted, and left the palace in anger. The emperor, believing he had been insulted, dismissed the embassy without granting it an imperial audience and rejected its "tribute" of gifts. This diplomatic incident caused considerable disquiet at the time.
Some 200 years later, it is timely in 2016 to consider once again the complex and vexed historical and cultural relations between two of the nineteenth-century world's largest empires. The interdisciplinary essays in this volume engage with the most recent work on British cultural representations of, and exchanges with, Qing China, extending our existing but still provisional understandings of this area of study in new and exciting directions. They cover such subjects as female foot binding; English and Chinese pastoral poetry; translations; representations of the trade in tea and opium; Tibet; and the political, cultural and environmental contexts of the Amherst embassy itself. Featuring British and Chinese writers such as Edmund Spenser, Wu Cheng'en, Thomas De Quincey, Oscar Wilde, James Hilton, and Zhuangzi, these essays take forward the compelling and highly relevant subject for today of Britain and China's relationship.

Peter J. Kitson is Professor of English at the University of East Anglia; Robert Markley is W.D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor of English at the University of Illinois.

Contributors: Elizabeth Chang, Peter J. Kitson, Eugenia Zuroski-Jenkins, Zhang Longxi, Mingjun Lu, Robert Markley, Eun Kyung Min, Q.S. Tong


4 black and white illustrations
203 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
Essays and Studies
Hardback, 9781843844457, July 2016
eBook, 9781782048169, July 2016
BISAC LIT004120, LIT008000, HIS037060
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Writing China - Peter J. Kitson and Robert Markley
Urbanization, Generic Forms, and Early Modernity: A Correlative Comparison of Wu Cheng'en and Spenser's Rural-Pastoral Poems - Mingjun Lu
Master Zhuang's Wife: Translating the Ephesian Matron in Thomas Percy's The Matrons [1762] - Eun Kyung Min
The Dark Gift: Opium, John Francis Davis, Thomas De Quincey and the Amherst Embassy to China of 1816 - Peter J. Kitson
The Amherst Embassy in the Shadow of Tambora: Climate and Culture, 1816 - Robert Markley
Tea and the Limits of Orientalism in De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater - Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins
Binding and Unbinding Chinese Feet in the Mid-Century Victorian Press - Elizabeth Hope Chang
Elective Affinities? Two Moments of Encounter with Oscar Wilde's Writings - Zhang Longxi
'Lost Horizon': Orientalism and the Question of Tibet - Q S Tong

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