Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937

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University of Hawaii Press, 2004 - Art - 391 pages

In the mid-1910s, what historians call the Golden Age of Chinese Capitalism began, accompanied by a technological transformation that included the drastic expansion of China s Gutenberg revolution. Gutenberg in Shanghai is a brilliant examination of this process. It finds the origins of that revolution in the country s printing industries of the late imperial period and analyzes their subsequent development in the Republican era.

Under diverse social, political, and economic influences, this technological and cultural revolution saw woodblock printing replaced with Western mechanical processes. This book, which relies on documents previously unavailable to both Western and Chinese researchers, demonstrates how Western technology and evolving traditional values resulted in the birth of a unique form of print capitalism whose influence on Chinese culture was far-reaching and irreversible. Its conclusion contests scholarly arguments that view China s technological development as slowed by culture, or that interpret Chinese modernity as mere cultural continuity.

A vital reevaluation of Chinese modernity, Gutenberg in Shanghai will appeal to scholars of Chinese history. Likewise, it will be enthusiastically received by specialists in cultural studies, political science, sociology, the history of the book, and the anthropology of science and technology.


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Page v - When you are old and gray and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
Page 9 - The tool or working-machine is that part of the machinery with which the industrial revolution of the 18th century started. And to this day it constantly serves as such a starting point, whenever a handicraft, or a manufacture, is turned into an industry carried on by machinery.

About the author (2004)

Christopher Reed, who holds a doctorate in art history from Yale University, is currently associate professor of English and visual culture at the Pennsylvania State University. His previous books include Bloomsbury Rooms: Modernism, Subculture, and Domesticity (winner of the 2006 Historians of British Art Book Prize in the single author, post-circa 1800 subject category) and the edited volumes A Roger Fry Reader and Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture (both 1996).

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