Search Results

Elisabeth KASKE

Restricted Access

Elisabeth Kaske

Abstract

This study of a forgery case in the Board of Revenue shows how the huge increase in the legal sale of offices and titles in early nineteenth-century China overstretched the bureaucratic structures that managed it and exposed the weakness of official control over subaltern clerical personnel. The case allows a glimpse into the mostly hidden world of metropolitan clerks and the operation of a little known department in the Board of Revenue, the Contribution Office. It also demonstrates how the illegal sale of fake official ranks allowed the clerks to participate in the legal purchase of offices and thus to free themselves from the predicament of their clerical position. While legal venality contributed to general corruption in the Qing bureaucracy, it also leveled to a certain extent the differences between a professional yet suppressed class of bureaucrats and their amateurish yet socially esteemed scholar-literati superiors.

Restricted Access

Series:

Elisabeth Kaske

The study examines the origins of the “literary revolution” proclaimed in 1917 which laid the foundation for the replacement of the classical language by the vernacular as China’s national language and medium of national literature. A unique, multifaceted approach is used to explain the political significance of the classical/vernacular divide against the backdrop of social change that followed the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5. Seeing education as the central battleground for all debates on language, the study in six thoroughly documented chapters investigates the language policy of the Qing and Republican governments, vernacular journalism of the revolutionaries, the activities of urban script reformers, the linguistic thought of the national essence advocates, and the emergence of a scholarly interest in the vernacular in academic circles.