The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci
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The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

By (author) Jonathan D. Spence

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In 1577, the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci set out from Italy to bring Christian faith and Western thought to Ming dynasty China. To capture the complex emotional and religious drama of Ricci's extraodinary life, Jonathan Spence has shifted away from conventional biographical techniques, and he relates his subject's life to several images that Ricci himself created - four images derived from events in the Bible and others from a book on the art of memory that Ricci wrote in Chinese and circulated among members of the Ming dynasty's elite. A rich and compelling narrative about a remarkable life, "The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" is also a significant work of global history, juxtaposing the world of Counter-Reformation Europe with that of Ming China.

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  • Paperback | 364 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 17.78mm | 521.63g
  • 01 Jun 1994
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn
  • English
  • 0140080988
  • 9780140080988
  • 78,118

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Author Information

Jonathan Spence's eleven books on Chinese history include "The Gate of Heavenly Peace," "Treason by the Book," and "The Death of Woman Wang." His awards include a Guggenheim and a MacArthur Fellowship. He teaches at Yale University.

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Review quote

Praise for "The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci" "An extraordinarily delicate achievement . . . Resembles the portrait of an age." --"The New York Times Book Review" "A gripping portrait of late-sixteenth-century cultural history in both the West and the East." --Natalie Zemon Davis, Princeton University, author of "The Return of Martin Guerre" "An extraordinary tour de force, a work of literature and at the same time a remarkable wide-ranging use of historical sources. This is the kind of history that most people in the profession cannot even begin to write." --John King Fairbank, Harvard University

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