Lost Knowledge: The Concept of Vanished Technologies and Other Human Histories examines the idea of lost knowledge, reaching back to a period between myth and history. It investigates a peculiar idea found in a number of early texts: that there were civilizations with knowledge of sophisticated technologies, and that this knowledge was obscured or destroyed over time along with the civilization that had created it. This book presents critical studies of a series of early Chinese, South Asian, and other texts that look at the idea of specific “lost” technologies, such as mechanical flight and the transmission of images. There is also an examination of why concepts of a vanished “golden age” were prevalent in so many cultures. Offering an engaging and investigative look at the propagation of history and myth in technology and culture, this book is sure to interest historians and readers from many backgrounds.
The series will be of interest to anybody interested in questions of cosmopolitan and vernacular in the Sinographic Cosmopolis—specifically, with respect to questions of language, writing and literary culture, embracing both beginnings (the origins of and early sources for writing in the sinographic sphere) and endings (the disintegration of the Sinographic Cosmopolis in places like Korea, Japan and Vietnam, and the advent of linguistic modernity throughout all of the old Sinitic sphere. In addition, the series will feature comparative research on interactions and synergies in language, writing and literary culture in the Sinographic Cosmopolis over nearly two millennia, as well as studies of the 'sinographic hangover' in modern East Asia-critical and comparative assessments of the social and cultural history of language and writing and linguistic thought in modern and premodern East Asia.
An Introduction to Chinese and Japanese Characters, Their History and Influence
Edited by Imre Galambos
In The Other Greek, Arthur Cooper offers a captivating and unorthodox introduction to the world of the Chinese script through the medium of poetry, explaining the structure, meaning and cultural significance of each character. Written nearly half a century ago, and now published posthumously, the book argues that the role of Chinese writing was analogous to the influence of Greek civilization on Western culture. Chinese is the Greek of the Far East, ‘the other Greek’! Originally a cryptanalyst, Cooper uses his professional—and distinctly non-academic—training to analyse Chinese characters and points out a series of unacknowledged associations between them. Ultimately, he aims to initiate the reader with no prior knowledge of the language into Chinese writing and poetry.