In this magisterial study, Norman J. Girardot focuses on James Legge (1815-1897), one of the most important nineteenth-century figures in the cultural exchange between China and the West. A translator-transformer of Chinese texts, Legge was a pioneering cross-cultural pilgrim within missionary circles in China and within the academic world of Oxford University. By tracing Legge's career and his close association with Max MÃ¼ller (1823-1900), Girardot elegantly brings a biographically embodied approach to the intellectual history of two important aspects of the emergent "human sciences" at the end of the nineteenth century: sinology and comparative religions.
Girardot weaves a captivating narrative that illuminates the era in which Legge lived as well as the surroundings in which he worked. His encyclopedic knowledge of pertinent figures, documents, peculiar ideologies, and even the personal quirks of principal and minor players brings the world of imperial China and Victorian England very much to life. At the same time, Girardot gets at the roots of much of the twentieth-century discourse about the strange religious or nonreligious otherness of China. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (2)
Ambitious and successful intellectual biography of James Legge
In an ambitious yet rippingly successfull break from the staid academic tradition of endnotes, Dr. Girardot delivers a veritable tour-de-force with his latest scholarly work, "The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage." The reader will delight in literally hundreds of footnotes detailing the Missionary James Legge's symbolic and literal pilgrimage to the China of yore, detailing and amplifying on such electrifying subjects such as: "How does Legge relate to Confucianism through Christianity?"; "What is Max MÃ¼ller 'Motto'?"; and finally, "Who is General Tso, and why is his chicken so good?". Not since "An Annotated Transliteration of the Alphabet", by Dr. Farles Pikquens (ret.) has such a well-researched book so thoroughly expanded vistas of hermeneutical inquiry into this otherwise "forgotten Victorian sage".
Before you do anything else, read this book
This book takes a detailed look at the Victorian-era translation of China in the context of both a symbolic and literal pilgrimage to the Orient.It may be said to be an intellectual biography of James Legge.I liked the book because of the extensive, well-researched footnotes.I would fully and unreservedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the trials and tribulations of the Victorian-era translation of China.While the book requires a small commitment of time from the reader, it provides in return a unique and fully formed picture of an interesting subject.
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