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Imperial China, 900–1800

Imperial China, 900–1800

F. W. Mote

ISBN 9780674012127

Publication date: 11/15/2003

This is a history of China for the 900-year time span of the late imperial period. A senior scholar of this epoch, F. W. Mote highlights the personal characteristics of the rulers and dynasties and probes the cultural theme of Chinese adaptations to recurrent alien rule. No other work provides a similar synthesis: generational events, personalities, and the spirit of the age combine to yield a comprehensive history of the civilization, not isolated but shaped by its relation to outsiders.

This vast panorama of the civilization of the largest society in human history reveals much about Chinese high and low culture, and the influential role of Confucian philosophical and social ideals. Throughout the Liao Empire, the world of the Song, the Mongol rule, and the early Qing through the Kangxi and Qianlong reigns, culture, ideas, and personalities are richly woven into the fabric of the political order and institutions. This is a monumental work that will stand among the classic accounts of the nature and vibrancy of Chinese civilization before the modern period.

Praise

  • This massive tome crowns the long, distinguished career of Frederick Mote, an influential scholar of Late Imperial China in the United States… An outstanding feature that distinguishes this book from similar works is the author’s effort to readdress the imbalance in traditional historiography with its lopsided focus on the political and geographic center of the realm. He does a wonderful job of reconstructing the history of such historically neglected regimes as Khitan–Liao, Jurchen–Jin, and Tangut–Western Xia, from the perspective of the Other… What I find most praiseworthy is the lucid, elegant expository style of writing. In spite of the wealth of knowledge the author clearly possesses about traditional China, he chooses to cover in depth a select number of topics—personages, events, institutions, etc.—in a language that is understandable to the average man in the street, without relying on opaque verbosity. Consequently, the book is likely to leave a profound and lasting impact on the reader in areas it focuses on, which will in turn help him or her better understand a given period of Late Imperial China from a long-term perspective.

    —Victor Cunrui Xiong, Chinese Historical Review

Author

  • F. W. Mote was Professor of Chinese History and Civilization, Emeritus, at Princeton University, author of Intellectual Foundations of China, and coeditor of several volumes of The Cambridge History of China.

Book Details

  • 1128 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 10 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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