Synopses & Reviews
These writings, representing over a generation of work by one of our most acute commentators on Chinese history, are collected here for the first time and introduced with a masterly prologue. They cut across the boundaries of different fields of knowledge to better understand modern China and traditional Chinese culture.
Schwartz's writings are deeply concerned with the conceptual frameworks and presumptions which we as twentieth-century Westerners bring to bear in our study of foreign cultures. He brings the entire complexity concerning modernity to his analysis of the millennial political, social, and cultural history of China.
This is also an excavation of the conscious life of the Chinese past, an interpretation of the persistent dominant cultural and sociopolitical orientations of Chinese culture. The constancies of behavior and attitudes are made plain in the contingencies and complexities of short-durational and generational history.
"Schwartz is a scholar of truly amazing breadth as his work spans historical and political studies of Chinese Communism, and the thought of ancient China...Each of the essays is a seminal and provocative discussion of its topic. The essays cover such subjects as the method of periodising Chinese history, modernity, the importance of the political order in East Asian society, Chinese political understanding of the United States, the role of the leader and the party in Communist Chinese politics, and recent changes in an evolving post-Communist society in mainland China. Each of these essays may be read with a great deal of profit both for the intrinsic value of the essay and for how these essays when read collectively reflect the changes and development in the American scholastic community's view of 'China'."--James H. Grayson, Asian Affairs
"A tasty mixture of essays on PRC politics and Mao thought, classical Chinese philosophy, and China's history with nuggets of comparative intellectual history randomly inserted to sweeten the olio. Schwartz has always been primarily concerned with 'intellectual history and man's conscious life in general,' with 'the world of conscious intentionality.' In his exploration of these realms in both ancient and contemporary China, Schwartz's sensibility, prudence, and inclusiveness have more often than not led him to call the shots correctly, while the merely fashionable have stumbled on their shoelaces." --Albert Feuerwerker, University of Michigan, author of
State and Society in Eighteenth-Century China
"These essays were published over a quarter century of time, the earliest appearing in 1966, the latest in the early 1990s. Diverse in content--ranging from fairly esoteric explorations of aspects of the Chinese philosophical tradition to ruminations on the thought of Mao to observations about the progressive degeneration of Marxism-Leninist ideology to close analysis of such commonly encountered categories as tradition, modernity, society, and party to critical discussions of issues in the Western intellectual tradition (as formulated, for example, in Rousseau and Hannah Arendt)--they are as fresh and relevant today as they were when first written."--Paul A. Cohen, Wellesley College
These writings, representing over a generation of work by one of our most acute commentators on Chinese history, are collected here for the first time and introduced with a masterly prologue. Benjamin Schwartz brings all of the complexity surrounding modernity to his analysis of the millennial political, social, and cultural history of China.
of behavior and attitudes are made plain in the contingencies and complexities of short-durational and generational history.
About the Author
Benjamin I. Schwartz was Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University.