12 April 2011

I am reading Judith Zeitlin's beautiful and amazing book, Historian of the Strange: Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale (Stanford University Press, 1993) completely overwhelmed with the creativity of her scholarship, wondering how I will ever work with it.

Such is the dilemma of writing Chinese history: on my desk I have Richard Strassberg's translation of the Shan hai jing, A Chinese Bestiary: strange creatures from the guideways through mountains and seas (University of California Press, 2002), Patricia Buckley Ebrey's book in the Song emperor Huizong's collections of antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, Accumulating Culture (University of Washington Press, 2008) and Jonathan Spence's collation of various texts written by Qing emperor Kangxi into an "autobiography" (Vintage, 1974).

I'm so psyched on Chinese history I'm looking in all directions like a crazy person and I don't know what to say.

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