Chinesia: The European Construction of China in the Literature of the 17th and 18th Centuries Adrian Hsia Author
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Our perception of the Others is based on our conception of ourselves. In theory the Others should be different. If necessary, we alter their images to accommodate the apperception of ourselves. Thus Chinesia, an amalgamation of facts and fiction, was created. In order to avoid previous repetition of stereotypes and prejudices, the present study re-examines the parameters which created Chinesia and traces its development to the end of the 18th century. The literary study begins with the analysis of European dramatization of the Manchu Conquest of China and its subsequent fictional Christianization. Then the Jesuit plays with Chinese themes are discussed, for the first time in literary history. Also analyzed is the reception of the Chinese Orphan motive in European literature which was the turning point in downgrading China, and subsequently Montesquieu's impact on Albrecht von Haller's novel Usong is examined. Thereafter, the study scrutinizes the contradictory positions of Herder and von Seckendorff (or Goethe, for that matter) in Weimar. The book concludes with a concise analysis of the 'eschatological sinism' of Hegel, Marx and Weber to indicate the development of the later centuries.

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