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A taste for China : English subjectivity and the prehistory of Orientalism

Author: Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, ©2013.
Series: Global Asias.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Challenging existing narratives of the relationship between China and Europe, this study establishes how modern English identity evolved through strategies of identifying with rather than against China. Through an examination of England's obsession with Chinese objects throughout the long eighteenth century, A Taste for China argues that chinoiserie in literature and material culture played a central role in  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins
ISBN: 9780199950980 0199950989 9780199950997 0199950997
OCLC Number: 810329311
Description: xi, 282 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Contents: Introduction: writing China into the English self --
The cosmopolitan nation, "Where Order in Variety We See" --
The Chinese touchstone of the tasteful Imagination --
Defoe's trinkets: fiction's spectral traffic --
"Nature to Advantage Drest": the poetry of subjectivity --
How Chinese things became Oriental --
Disenchanting China: Orientalism and the English novel --
Afterword: Rethinking Modern Taste.
Series Title: Global Asias.
Responsibility: Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins.

Abstract:

Through an examination of England's obsession with Chinese things throughout the long eighteenth century, this book argues that chinoiserie in literature and material culture played a central role in  Read more...

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A Taste for China insists that we continue to query the parameters of eighteenth-century Britishness, and in its impressive range of readings, succeeds in making China a pedagogical imperative for Read more...

 
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   schema:description ""Challenging existing narratives of the relationship between China and Europe, this study establishes how modern English identity evolved through strategies of identifying with rather than against China. Through an examination of England's obsession with Chinese objects throughout the long eighteenth century, A Taste for China argues that chinoiserie in literature and material culture played a central role in shaping emergent conceptions of taste and subjectivity. Informed by sources as diverse as the writings of John Locke, Alexander Pope, and Mary Wortley Montagu, Zuroski Jenkins begins with a consideration of how literature transported cosmopolitan commercial practices into a model of individual and collective identity. She then extends her argument to the vibrant world of Restoration comedy-most notably the controversial The Country Wife by William Wycherley-where Chinese objects are systematically associated with questionable tastes and behaviors. Subsequent chapters draw on Defoe, Pope, and Swift to explore how adventure fiction and satirical poetry use chinoiserie to construct, question, and reimagine the dynamic relationship between people and things. The second half of the eighteenth century sees a marked shift as English subjects anxiously seek to separate themselves from Chinese objects. A reading of texts including Aphra Behn's Oroonoko and Jonas Hanway's Essay on Tea shows that the enthrallment with chinoiserie does not disappear, but is rewritten as an aristocratic perversion in midcentury literature that prefigures modern sexuality. Ultimately, at the century's end, it is nearly disavowed altogether, which is evinced in works like Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. A persuasively argued and richly textured monograph on eighteenth-century English culture, A Taste for China will interest scholars of cultural history, thing theory, and East-West relations."--Publisher's website."@en ;
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