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The Emergence of China
From Confucius to the Empire
E. Bruce Brooks, A. Taeko Brooks

Ancient China in Context

Warring States Project
2015 • 256 pp. 10 illus., 4 maps 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Chinese History / Chinese Philosophy / Asian Studies / Chinese Classical Period

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-936166-75-6
$47.95 Hardcover, 978-1-936166-35-0

$23.99 Ebook, 978-1-936166-95-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“The most lively, detailed, insightful, and accessible introduction to the formative period that I know of, in any language. The authors capture the drama, excitement, and complexity of the period, and weave into their narrative hundreds of direct quotations.”—Paul Ropp, Clark University

A comprehensive survey of classical Chinese history and thought

The Emergence of China presents the classical period in its own terms. It contains more than 500 translated excerpts from the classical texts, linked by a running commentary which traces the evolution and interaction of the different schools of thought. These are shown in dialogue about issues from tax policy to the length of the mourning period for a parent. Some texts labor to establish the legal and political structures of the new state, while others passionately oppose its war orientation, or amusingly ridicule those who supported it. Here are the arguments of the Hundred Schools of classical thought, for the first time restored to life and vividly presented.

There are six topical chapters, each treating a major subject in chronological order, framed by a preliminary background chapter and a concluding survey of the eventual Empire. Each chapter includes several brief Methodological Moments, as samples of the philological method on which the work is based. Occasional footnotes point to historical parallels in Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near East, and the mediaeval-to-modern transition in Europe, which at many points the Chinese classical period resembles. At the back of the book are a guide to alternate Chinese romanizations, a list of passages translated, and a subject index.

A preliminary version of The Emergence of China was classroom-tested, and the suggestions of teachers and students were incorporated into the final version. The results of those classroom trials, in both history and philosophy classes, were favorable.

This is the only account of early Chinese thought which presents it against the background of the momentous changes taking place in the early Chinese state, and the only account of the early Chinese state which follows its development, by correctly dated documents, from its beginnings in the palace states of Spring and Autumn to the economically sophisticated bureaucracies of late Warring States times. In this larger context, the insights of the philosophers remain, but their failure to influence events is also noted. The fun of the Jwangdz is transmitted, but along with its underlying pain. The achievements of the Chinese Imperial formation process are duly registered, but so is their human cost. Special attention is given to the contribution of non-Chinese peoples to the eventual Chinese civilization.

For other titles in this series, see the Warring States Project main page.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“The fruit of an extraordinarily detailed and wide-ranging research program, this book succinctly lays out the evolving political, social, and economic context without which we cannot understand the great classics of Chinese philosophy in their own terms.”—Stephen C. Angle, Wesleyan University

“At last, a way to teach ancient Chinese philosophy historically: we may jettison the old cardboard-cutout versions of "the philosophers." It shows how the ancient Chinese texts formed over time and in dialogue with each other.”—Sigrid Schmalzer University of Massachusetts at Amherst

“I will definitely use it in my course. It solves a problem I have had from the beginning: to give a context for the philosophical texts . . . A stylistically economical, accessible, gripping, and substantive book.”—John J. Furlong, Transylvania University

“I like the matter-of-fact tone of the book. It is amazing how much there is, and yet the book is easily approachable.—Victoria Tin-bor Hui, University of Notre Dame

“One bit I enjoyed in the Antiquity chapter was the irrefutable and murderously efficient demonstration that the idea that there was some sort of military or economic restructuring under Chí Hwán-gūng (as in the Gwăn Jùng legends) is a historically worthless fantasy.”—Eric Henry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Wonderfully rich and informative, lucidly outlined, tightly written, packed with fascinating excerpts, and simply a joy to read. I wish someone would do this for early Greek history, including the focus on methodology and mythography.”—Richard Martin, Stanford University

E. BRUCE BROOKS is research professor of Chinese and A. TAEKO BROOKS is research associate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:31:33 -0500