Writing and Literacy in Early China: Studies from the Columbia Early China Seminar

Writing and Literacy in Early China: Studies from the Columbia Early China Seminar

Hardback

Edited by Feng Li, Edited by David Prager Branner

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  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Format: Hardback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 226mm x 43mm | 726g
  • Publication date: 11 January 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Washington
  • ISBN 10: 0295991526
  • ISBN 13: 9780295991528
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations (some col.), 1 map
  • Sales rank: 1,009,267

Product description

The emergence and spread of literacy in ancient human society an important topic for all who study the ancient world, and the development of written Chinese is of particular interest, as modern Chinese orthography preserves logographic principles shared by its most ancient forms, making it unique among all present-day writing systems. In the past three decades, the discovery of previously unknown texts dating to the third century BCE and earlier, as well as older versions of known texts, has revolutionized the study of early Chinese writing. The long-term continuity and stability of the Chinese written language allow for this detailed study of the role literacy played in early civilization. The contributors to Writing and Literacy in Early China inquire into modes of manuscript production, the purposes for which texts were produced, and the ways in which they were actually used. By carefully evaluating current evidence and offering groundbreaking new interpretations, the book illuminates the nature of literacy for scribes and readers. Li Feng is associate professor of early Chinese history and archaeology at Columbia University. David Branner is a lexicographer of Chinese who has taught at the University of Maryland. The other contributors are Anthony Barbieri-Low, William Boltz, Constance Cook, Lothar von Falkenhausen, David Pankenier, Matthias Richter, Adam Smith, Ken-ichi Takashima, and Robin Yates.

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Author information

Li Feng is associate professor of early Chinese history and archaeology at Columbia University. David Prager Branner is a lexicographer of Chinese, retired as a professor of Chinese at the University of Maryland. The other contributors are Anthony Barbieri-Low, William Boltz, Constance Cook, Lothar von Falkenhausen, David Pankenier, Matthias Richter, Adam Smith, Ken-ichi Takashima, and Robin Yates.

Review quote

"Writing and Literacy in Early China is a major contribution to the study of literacy, not just in China but globally. It presents an abundance of original research and novel interpretations, and is certain to have a significant impact on how we look at the role of Chinese characters in society and government from the Shang Dynasty through the Qin-Han period." Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania