Britain's Chinese Eye: Literature, Empire, and Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century Britain

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Stanford University Press, Apr 20, 2010 - History - 238 pages
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This book traces the intimate connections between Britain and China throughout the nineteenth century and argues for China's central impact on the British visual imagination. Chang brings together an unusual group of primary sources to investigate how nineteenth-century Britons looked at and represented Chinese people, places, and things, and how, in the process, ethnographic, geographic, and aesthetic representations of China shaped British writers' and artists' vision of their own lives and experiences. For many Britons, China was much more than a geographical location; it was also a way of seeing and being seen that could be either embraced as creative inspiration or rejected as contagious influence. In both cases, the idea of China's visual difference stood in negative contrast to Britain's evolving sense of the visual and literary real. To better grasp what Romantic and Victorian writers, artists, and architects were doing at home, we must also understand the foreign "objects" found in their midst and what they were looking at abroad.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Garden
23
2 Plate
71
3 Display Case and Den
111
4 Photograph
141
Conclusion
179
Notes
187
Works Cited
219
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Elizabeth Hope Chang is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri and editor of the five-volume collection British Travel Writing from China 1798-1901 (2009).

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