The Poet Zheng Zhen (1806-1864) and the Rise of Chinese Modernity


In The Poet Zheng Zhen (1806-1864) and the Rise of Chinese Modernity, J. D. Schmidt provides the first detailed study in a Western language of one of China's greatest poets and explores the nineteenth-century background to Chinese modernity, challenging the widely held view that this is largely of Western origin. The volume contains a study of Zheng's life and times, an examination of his thought and literary theory, and four chapters studying his highly original contributions to poetry on the human realm, nature verse, narrative poetry, and the poetry of ideas, including his writings on science and technology. Over a hundred pages of translations of his verse conclude the work.

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J. D. Schmidt, Ph.D. (1975), University of British Columbia, is Professor of Asian Studies at that university. He has published monographs and articles on Classical Chinese poetry, including books on Yang Wanli, Fan Chengda, Huang Zunxian (Cambridge, 1994), and Yuan Mei (Curzon, 2003).
"The most thorough study we have in any language, Chinese included, of a major writer from the late Qing. In fact, there is no more complete study of any Chinese poet from any period, even including Lin Yutang’s classic The Gay Genius on Su Shi (1037-1101) from 1946. (…) Schmidt’s scholarship is awe-inspiring.” – Prof. Jonathan Chaves, George Washington University

“Of mammoth proportion and importance (…) One of the most impressive exercises in classical Chinese scholarship ever completed about any era or poet in any Western language (…) Resoundingly establishes the reputation of Zheng Zhen as a poet of the very highest rank in Chinese literary history… the book is clearly not just a success, but a triumph. (…) Unique and a major breakthrough in our overall understanding of late imperial China." – Prof. Terry Russell, University of Manitoba
Anyone interested in the origins of Chinese modernity, Chinese intellectual history, late imperial Chinese political history, the history of Chinese science and technology, or Chinese literary history.