Hardback
June 15, 2013
9780295992778
English
244
10 illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.05 Pounds (US)
$95.00 USD, £72.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
June 15, 2013
9780295992785
English
244
10 illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.8 Pounds (US)
$30.00 USD, £22.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China

Honorable Mention for the 2016 Kayden Book Award

This first book-length study in Chinese or any Western language of personal letters and letter-writing in premodern China focuses on the earliest period (ca. 3rd-6th cent. CE) with a sizeable body of surviving correspondence. Along with the translation and analysis of many representative letters, Antje Richter explores the material culture of letter writing (writing supports and utensils, envelopes and seals, the transportation of finished letters) and letter-writing conventions (vocabulary, textual patterns, topicality, creativity). She considers the status of letters as a literary genre, ideal qualities of letters, and guides to letter-writing, providing a wealth of examples to illustrate each component of the standard personal letter. References to letter-writing in other cultures enliven the narrative throughout.

Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China makes the social practice and the existing textual specimens of personal Chinese letter-writing fully visible for the first time, both for the various branches of Chinese studies and for epistolary research in other ancient and modern cultures, and encourages a more confident and consistent use of letters as historical and literary sources.

About the Author

Antje Richter is assistant professor of Chinese language and civilization at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She previously taught at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel and Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg.

Reviews

"Richter's frequent comparisons of the culture of letter-writing in early medieval China and the Western world place Chinese letter-writing in a global context. . . . [A] solid study on letters and epistolary culture in early medieval China. She makes important contributions to the field of early medieval Chinese cultural studies in general, and to the understanding of letters as a genre as well as to the analysis of the textual characteristics of personal letters in particular."—Sujane Wu, Journal of Asian Studies

"Antje Richter's book provides invaluable information about this under-studied genre of writing. . . . This book is not just a much-needed addition to the field of early medieval literature, but its discussion of letter writing and epistolary culture also sheds light on social and cultural aspects of this period that are otherwise difficult to know. . . . It should be of interest to anyone who studies pre-modern epistolary culture, as well as the literature, culture, and society of early medieval China."—Qiulei Hu, Journal of the American Oriental Society

"This is a fine piece of work. . . . Clear, unpretentious, and worth hearing. . . . It is recommended without reservation."—David Prager Branner, The Historian

"Future scholars dealing with any of these topics and questions will certainly not only be encouraged by Richter's book to intensify research on Chinese letters, but they will also benefit greatly from the solid and comprehensive groundwork provided by this important introduction."—Kathrin Leese-Messing, Asiatische Studien/ Etudes Asiatiques

Endorsements

"Richter's intellectual breadth and dialogue with contemporary scholars of letter-writing traditions in Europe should ensure her work has a broad reception. This is original scholarship that handles an important literary genre with sensitivity and sophistication."—Cynthia Chennault, University of Florida
University of Washington Press

9780295992778 : letters-and-epistolary-culture-in-early-medieval-china-richter
Hardback
244 Pages
$95.00 USD
9780295992785 : letters-and-epistolary-culture-in-early-medieval-china-richter
Paperback / softback
244 Pages
$30.00 USD

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