Prior to the nineteenth century, the West occupied an anomalous space in the Chinese imagination, populated by untamable barbarians and unearthly immortals. First-hand accounts and correspondence from Qing envoys and diplomats to Europe unraveled that perception. In this path-breaking study, Jenny Huangfu Day interweaves the history of Qing legation-building with the personal stories of China's first official travelers, envoys and diplomats to Europe. She explores how diplomat-travelers navigated the conceptual and physical space of a land virtually unmapped in the Chinese intellectual tradition and created a new information order. This study reveals the fluidity, heterogeneity, and ambivalence of their experience, and the layers of tension between thinking, writing, and publishing about the West. By integrating diplomatic and intellectual history with literary analysis and communication studies, Day offers a fundamentally new interpretation of the Qing's engagement with the West.
Paul A. Cohen - Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, Massachusetts
R. Kent Guy - University of Washington
Stephen Halsey - University of Miami
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