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Cambridge launches The China Library
The burgeoning of interest in all things Chinese is about to receive a helping hand from a cohort of the country’s top academics, with the first publication in English of their writings.
Launched on 16 April 2012 at the London Book Fair, The Cambridge China Library is a publishing venture by Cambridge University Press that gives China the chance to speak for itself, in unprecedented detail, about its long and fascinating cultural evolution.
The volumes in the library represent an unusual offering: originally written for Chinese university students and academics, the texts represent a rare opportunity for the Westerner to listen in on the Chinese talking to themselves about themselves, with no interference.
In his introduction to The History of Chinese Civilisation, Volume 3, David McMullen, Professor Emeritus of Chinese at the University of Cambridge, notes that publications like this are one of the indications that, “Chinese scholarship is entering a new phase of unprecedented freedom”.
The texts cover a wide range of subjects in the arts and humanities, the social sciences and the history of science. Cambridge says the series “aims to foster intellectual debate and to promote closer cross-cultural understanding by bringing important works of Chinese scholarship to the attention of western readers.”
At a time in its history when China is variously seen as the great hope for economic bolstering of the struggling West and as a looming economic threat (witness the recent ramping up of anti-China rhetoric by US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney), The Cambridge China Library comes at the ideal moment to give the reader who wants to achieve an in-depth understanding of the country the tools with which to do it.
The texts are compiled from discrete reports from a variety of writers and so can be dipped into to satisfy a curiosity about the Han or Ming dynasties, or offer the serious scholar the most complete picture available of what McMullen calls, “this vast tract of human experience in space and time.”
Stephen Bourne, Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press, said: “The Cambridge China Library aims to provide a high-quality insight into the thinking of the academic and political communities in China, with introductory commentaries from eminent western scholars providing context for the original Chinese texts. Cambridge University Press is privileged to have been entrusted with providing a bridge between our very different cultures, through the medium of the Cambridge China Library titles.”
Notes to Editors:
Published so far in The Cambridge China Library:
The History of Chinese Civilization | Xingpei Yuan, Wenming Yan, Chuanxi Zhang, Yulie Lou, David R. Knechtges | 4 volume set | Hardback | 9781107013094 | £275
An Introduction to Higher Mathematics | Loo-Keng Hua, Peter Shiu | 2 volume set | Hardback | 9781107020016 | £135
Economic Reform and Development in China | Yining Li | Hardback | 9781107024052 | £75
For further information about the Cambridge China Library, please go here.
About Cambridge University Press
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Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 45,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing.
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