800 Years of Intellectual and Cultural Engagement: A Core Sourcebook



  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Europeans Watching China, Inside and Out
  • Origins:
    • In the Khan’s Palaces: Marco Polo
    • The China of the Imagination: Samuel Purchas
    • Jesuitical Encounters: Matteo Ricci
  • Enlightenment Views:
    • Confucian Civility: Gottfried Leibniz
    • Admiring the East: Voltaire
    • Despotic Empire: Montesquieu
  • Cultural Encounters in the Modern Era:
    • The Macartney Expedition, 1792–1794: John Barrow
    • Historic Dialectics: Georg Hegel
    • Imperial Sympathy: Karl Marx
    • Encounters on the Edges: Évariste Régis Huc
  • The Moderns:
    • What Do Chinese Believe?: Max Weber
    • Problematising China: Bertrand Russell
    • Chinese Wisdom for Modern Europeans: Carl Jung
  • Seeking the Revolution: Maoist China:
    • Socialist Solidarity: Simone de Beauvoir
    • Feminine China: Julia Kristeva
    • Fellow Traveller: Roland Barthes
  • Selected Further Reading
  • Index


China Through European Eyes provides a reader’s perspective on the conceptualisation of China by Europeans over the last 800 years. With annotated excerpts of their key China related writings by influential figures such as Voltaire, Ricci, Leibniz, Montesquieu, Marx, Weber, Hegel, Barthes and Kristeva, this collection brings together the visions and ideas of individuals who had a unique impact upon European culture. The views within range wildly as the authors wrestle with what sense to make of China’s cultural and social difference to their lives in the West, conceptualising China as a place of threat, otherness, exoticism, but also inspiration.

This important selection allows for comparison of perspectives across different times in Europe, allowing readers to map out continuities and evolutions of attitudes towards China. It shows that contemporary European attitudes towards China have deep roots. With an extensive introduction, full bibliography and widespread annotations on original texts, this book will be of interest to anyone engaged with the role of China in the world today, particularly those interested in how the crucial relationship between China and Europe developed over time.

Sample Chapter at https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/suppl/10.1142/q0323/suppl_file/q0323_intro.pdf