These writings, representing over a generation of work by one of our most acute commentators on Chinese history, are collected here for the first time and introduced with a masterly prologue. They cut across the boundaries of different fields of knowledge to better understand modern China and traditional Chinese culture.
Benjamin Schwartz’s writings are deeply concerned with the conceptual frameworks and presumptions which we as twentieth-century Westerners bring to bear in our study of foreign cultures. He brings the entire complexity concerning modernity to his analysis of the millennial political, social, and cultural history of China.
This is also an excavation of the conscious life of the Chinese past, an interpretation of the persistent dominant cultural and sociopolitical orientations of Chinese culture. The constancies of behavior and attitudes are made plain in the contingencies and complexities of short-durational and generational history.