A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture


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A History of Chinese Letters and Epistolary Culture is the first publication, in any language, that is dedicated to the study of Chinese epistolary literature and culture in its entirety, from the early empire to the twentieth century. The volume includes twenty-five essays dedicated to a broad spectrum of topics from postal transmission to letter calligraphy, epistolary networks to genre questions. It introduces dozens of letters, often the first translations into English, and thus makes epistolary history palpable in all its vitality and diversity: letters written by men and women from all walks of life to friends and lovers, princes and kings, scholars and monks, seniors and juniors, family members and neighbors, potential patrons, newspaper editors, and many more.
With contributions by: Pablo Ariel Blitstein, R. Joe Cutter, Alexei Ditter, Ronald Egan, Imre Galambos, Natascha Gentz, Enno Giele, Natasha Heller, David R. Knechtges, Paul W. Kroll, Jie Li, Y. Edmund Lien, Bonnie S. McDougall, Amy McNair, David Pattinson, Zeb Raft, Antje Richter, Anna M. Shields, Suyoung Son, Janet Theiss, Xiaofei Tian, Lik Hang Tsui, Matthew Wells, Ellen Widmer, and Suzanne E. Wright.

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Antje Richter, Ph.D. (1998), Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, is Associate Professor of Chinese at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her publications on Chinese literature and culture include Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China (University of Washington Press, 2013).
"These self-serving quibbles aside, however, this volume provides a splendid introduction to the world of Chinese letters, in all its complexity and diversity. Brill (and the editor!) should be particularlycommended for the meticulous production. The care taken to provide Chinese text for all translations; the usefully annotated bibliography; and especially the magnificent illustrations (many in color) of ancient wooden letters, delicately painted stationery, and letter manuscripts all wonderfully enhance the volume’s aesthetic and scholarly value. One hopes this book will inspire many others scholars to turn attention to the study of Chinese letters." - Beverly Bossler, University of California, Davis, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society 138.1 (2018)
All interested in Chinese literature and culture throughout history, and anyone concerned with questions of letter writing and alternative forms of written communication in other cultures.
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