Her book publications are Over Her Dead Body: Space, Identity, Text; Home in Hollywood:
It is as if there were a restlessness and a capacity for violence at the center of the human spirit that can never be contained, so that no society can achieve a perfect tranquility.
Yet in every country, too, humans have shown a love of beauty, a passion for intellectual adventure, a gentleness, an exuberant sensuality, and a yearning for justice that have cut across the darkness and filled their world with light. They have struggled constantly to understand the world, to protect themselves from its ravages, to organize it more effectively, and to make it a place in which their children might live without hunger or fear.
The history of China is as rich and strange as that of any country on earth, and its destiny as a nation is now entwined with all others in the search for scarce resources, the exchange of goods, and the expansion of knowledge.
Yet for a long time China was a completely unknown quantity to those living in the West, and even today seems set apart by differences of language, custom, and attitude. Now that China has over 1 billion people within its borders, it suffers internal pressures that the rest of us can only guess at; and the swings of its political life, the switches in its cultural moods, the lurches in its economy, the fact that its stated hostility to foreign influences is so often accompanied by the flashes of a welcoming smile, all combine to keep us in a state of bewilderment as to China's real nature.
There is no easy way to understand China, any more than there is an easy way to understand any culture, or even to understand ourselves.
But the attempt is worth making, for China's story is an astonishing one and has much to teach us. It is the contention of this book that in trying to P R E F A C E understand China today we need to know about China in the past; but how far back we carry that search remains, in a sense, the central question.
China's history is enormously long; indeed no other society has maintained its vitality or kept so meticulous a record of its own doings over such a long span—close to four thousand years—as has China. One can plunge into that record at any point and find events, personalities, moods that appear to echo the present in haunting ways.
My narrative begins around the year because it is only by starting at this time that I feel we can get a full sense of how China's current problems have arisen, and of what resources—intellectual, economic, and emotional—the Chinese can call upon to solve them. First, both China's rulers and Chinese critics of those rulers have sought repeatedly over this long time span to formulate strategies that would strengthen their country's borders, streamline bureaucratic institutions, make the most of their own resources so as to keep free from foreign interference, and sharpen the rigor of the intellectual tools needed to analyze the efficacy and the morality of political actions.
Second, even though it was not necessarily on any parallel "track" to the developing Western powers or to Japan, China was constantly adapting and changing in important ways, even as it was struggling to preserve certain immutable values.
Much of the history we will be examining here is made up of overlapping cycles of collapse and reconsolidation, of revolution and evolution, of conquest and movements for progress.
Third, this remains a book about an ongoing search rather than about the conclusion of a search.
I understand a "modern" nation to be one that is both integrated and receptive, fairly sure of its own identity yet able to join others on equal terms in the quest for new markets, new technologies, new ideas.
If it is used in this open sense, we should have no difficulty in seeing "modern" as a concept that shifts with the times as human life unfolds, instead of simply relegating the sense of "modern" to our own contemporary world while consigning the past to the "traditional" and the future to the "postmodern.
Yet at no time in that span, nor at the end of the twentieth century, has China been convincingly one of them. Fourth, I hope that the focus on the "search" for modern China as an ongoing act will make it clear how much China's history illuminates its present. China's Communist government can claim, with validity, revolutionary credentials.
But it is also a giant bureaucracy whose leaders insist on their right, in the name of a higher truth, to define people's aspirations P R E F A C E in virtually all spheres of life. So it was in the late Ming and early Qing states of the seventeenth century.
In relating to the outside world, China can also rightfully claim it is charting its own course. But in attempting to adapt certain aspects of advanced foreign technologies to solve its own pressing needs while preserving its people from corrupting influences, it is re-exploring ground surveyed with care in the nineteenth century.
Governing 1 billion citizens inside a single political entity is also something no state has attempted before. But it was in the eighteenth century that China's population pressures first became acute; and the effects of these growing numbers on the land, the economy, and the administration of civil society can be observed in detail from that time on.
The presence of the past can also be seen in many other areas. The customs and practices that ensured the low social and economic status of women, the educational methods that were used to instill in children certain patterns of generational deference and concepts of obligation, the power of the familly as an organizational unit, the ability of certain people within local communities to gain and preserve an abusive level of control—all of these aspects of Chinese society and culture can be seen in various forms from onward.
So can the aesthetic aspirations and linguistic innovations in art and literature, the probing scrutiny of administrative structures and procedures, all of which have brought deep changes to China and have endured to the present time. By starting our story at the end of the sixteenth century, too, we can achieve one other goal.
We can see how often the Chinese people, operating in difficult or even desperate circumstances, seized their own fate and threw themselves against the power of the state. We can see how inagain inand yet again indisillusion with the present and a certain nostalgia for the past could combine with a passionate hope for the future to bring the old order crashing down, opening the way for an uncertain passage to the new.
And armed with knowledge of those earlier struggles, we can gain a sharper understanding of the forces now confronting each other inside China, and of the chances for or against the troubled nation at last claiming its place in a modern world.
Acknowledgments In the years that were spent writing The Search for Modern China I have incurred countless debts of gratitude.
My deepest is to my Norton editor Steven Forman, who was my partner throughout the entire enterprise, cajoling, exhorting, encouraging and occasionally, in moments of greatest need, politely threatening. He not only read every fragment of draft at every stage, with bewildering speed and thoroughness, but worked on picture selection and captions, on the maps, on details of rights acquisition, and on every detail of placement and design.
But Steven Forman also always acknowledged the help of those who helped him, as I too do here:THE WAR OF THE THREE FEUDATORIES, 1 6 7 3 - 1 6 8 1 MARITIME CHINA that were every bit as rich and complex as,4 Midsummer Night's Dream or Romeo and Juliet.
And if there was no precise equal to Miguel de Cervantes, whose Don Quixote was to become a central work of Western culture, it was in the s that China's most beloved novel of.
Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Jan 14, · in - Sergei Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo & Juliet" premieres in Leningrad.
in - Clarence Clemons, rock saxophonist (Bruce Springsteen's E St Band), is born. in - William Albert Penn, composer and teacher, is born. in - York Georg Holler, composer and teacher, is born. in - Naomi Judd, country singer/songwriter, is born.
benjaminpohle.com is a legal online writing service established in the year by a group of Master and Ph.D. students who were then studying in UK. Meanwhile Shakespeare has developed a sweet and delicate strain of romantic poetry, seen first in the tragic romance of Romeo and Juliet () and then in the comic romances A Midsummer Night's Dream () and As You Like It ().