Michael Keevak: The Story of a Stele: China’s Nestorian Monument and Its Reception in the West, 1625-1916

2014年12月5日17:31:03 评论 3,756 4577字阅读15分15秒

作者: Michael Keevak
ISBN: 9789622098954
页数: 208 pp
定价: HKD295/USD39.5
出版社: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
装帧: Hardback
出版年: 2008

Western readers have yet to come to terms with the fact that during
much of our history very little was ever "known" about China. There
was never any lack of information from missionaries and travelers and
traders. But what kind of information was it? What kind of knowledge
was obtainable via the lenses of religious intolerance, colonial
ambition, or Eurocentrism? Travel accounts, Jesuit letter-books, or
embassy narratives can sometimes seem comparatively dispassionate,
even ethnographic, but one is repeatedly struck by a remarkable
vagueness when it comes to discussions of the foreign, and such
discussions become buried in a huge melange of fact and fiction that
is then collected, retold, or reintegrated in innumerable ways. The
thesis of this book is that when Westerners discussed the Nestorian
monument they were not really talking about China at all. The stone
served as a kind of screen onto which they could project their own
self-image and this is what they were looking at, not China. The stone
came to represent the empire and its history for many Western readers,
but only because it was seen as a tiny bit of the West that was
already there.
This is the first detailed study in English of the Western reception
of the monument since its discovery in Xiˇan in 1625. It will be
essential reading for those interested in East Asian colonialism, in
the vagaries of cross-cultural contact between East and West, and in
the way in which, from the very beginning of the period of Western
presence in China, the empire was viewed as little more than an
extension of European prejudices about the superiority of its own
cultures, religions, and conceptual paradigms.
Michael Keevak is a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages
at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. He is the author of
two books, Sexual Shakespeare: Forgery, Authorship, Portraiture
(2001), and The Pretended Asian: George Psalmanazarˇs Eighteenth-
Century Formosan Hoax (2004). He has also begun work on a new project:
How East Asians Came to be Yellow: An Essay in the History of Racial

"Michael Keevak has written a story about the way in which places,
objects, and even time travel through the imagination and cultures of
people. The meticulous description of the problems and controversies
that have surrounded the inscription on the Nestorian Stele for
centuries results in the fascinating anatomy of one of the formative
episodes of the Westˇs engagement with Chinese culture and history.
Keevakˇs reconstruction of the journey of the ˉstoneˇ in the
intellectual and religious universe of the European early modernity
also invites larger questions about the transmission, search for, and
uses of knowledge. For all his apologies, Keevak writes splendidly and
eruditely, and with a sense for the ˉotherˇ that is both delicate and
deep. This book will delight anyone interested in the life and
vicissitudes of cultural monuments."
-- Nicola Di Cosmo, Henry Luce Foundation Professor of East Asian
Studies, School of Historical Study, Institute for Advanced Study,
author of Diary of a Manchu Soldier in Seventeenth-Century China

"Michael Keevak, whose earlier studies of the historical/cultural
construction of Shakespeareˇs sexuality and of the fascinating
eighteenth-century imposter George Pslamanazar, has written a lively
and perceptive account of East/West cultural encounters by way of the
history of Western (mis)perceptions of a valuable cultural artifact
whose significance it took over four centuries to apprehend. Keevak is
particularly good at analyzing the ways Western Protestant, Catholic,
and imperialist ideological lenses distorted views of an ancient
Chinese artifact. He sheds light also on some of the intellectual
limitations of Western archaeological interpretations. This new study
is a valuable contribution to an understanding of the broad history of
East/West cultural encounters, but also particularly of the Westˇs
perception of ancient and modern China."
-- Arthur F. Marotti, Professor of English, Wayne State University,
author of Religious Ideology and Cultural Fantasy: Catholic and Anti-
Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England

"Michael Keevak tells a compelling story of how the European
imaginaire of an early Christian China was resurrected with the
recovery of the tantalizing Nestorian Stele in the ancient capital of
China during the early seventeenth century. This iconic stele, with
its Christian message of the cross, probably buried in the eighth
century to protect it from anti-foreign persecutions by the imperial
court, provided powerful, indisputable proof of an early Christian
presence in China for those latter-day European missionaries all too
predisposed to find it."
-- Roger T. Ames, Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawaiˇi, co-
translator of Daodejing: Making This Life Significant: A Philosophical

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations

Prologue: The Story of a Stone

1. A Stone Discovered
2. The Century of Kircher
3. Eighteenth-Century Problems and Controversies
4. The Return of the Missionaries

Epilogue: The Da Qin Temple

Works Cited

to buy this book from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Story-Stele-Nestorian-Reception-1625-1916/dp/9622098959



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