The Embodied Text

Establishing Textual Identity in Early Chinese Manuscripts


In The Embodied Text Matthias L. Richter offers an exemplary study of a 300 BCE Chinese manuscript, exploring significant differences between the Warring States manuscript text and its transmitted early imperial counterparts. These differences reveal the adaptation of the text to a changed political environment as well as general ideological developments. This study further demonstrates how the physical embodiment of the text in the manuscript reflects modes of textual formation and social uses of written texts.
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Biographical Note

Matthias L. Richter, Ph.D. (2000) Hamburg University, is Assistant Professor of Chinese at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has published books and articles on early Chinese literature, textual criticism, and manuscript studies, including Guan Ren (Bern, 2005).

Review Quotes

AAS Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Pre-1900 China):
Honorable Mention: Matthias L. Richter: The Embodied Text: Establishing Textual Identity in Early Chinese Manuscripts (Brill)

‘I would hate [..] to give the impression that I think this book is anything other than a superb work of scholarship. […] in its care for the presentation of the manuscript itself, Richter’s study of Min zhi fumu will surely serve as a model for future studies of the many individual manuscripts of ancient China that have been unearthed in recent years.’
Edward L. Shaughnessy, Journal of Chinese Studies, 59 (2014)


All interested in the study of Chinese manuscripts, in Warring States and early imperial Chinese literature and philosophy.


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