Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them
Part memoir, part travelogue, part crusade, Intimate China details the exploits of Alicia Little (Mrs Archibald Little), who first arrived in China as a new bride in 1887. Little was already a prolific writer before her marriage, and this narrative is both compelling and refreshingly frank. Published in 1899, her account of life in late nineteenth-century China is arranged eclectically, with chapters on 'Superstitions', 'Current coin in China' and 'Hindrances and annoyances' interlaced with descriptions of trips to Tibet and up the Yangtze. The latter third of the book is devoted entirely to politics. Fuelled with a determination to represent the Chinese 'as I have seen them', Little spares no details, supplying descriptions of the complications arising from foot-binding, a practice she found abhorrent and against which she actively campaigned. Extending to over six hundred pages and lavishly illustrated with maps and photographs, this is an extraordinary book.
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