Pub. Date:
University of California Press
Land Without Ghosts: Chinese Impressions of America from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present / Edition 1

Land Without Ghosts: Chinese Impressions of America from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present / Edition 1

by R. David Arkush, Leo O. Lee
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Americans have long been fascinated with European views of the United States. The many Chinese commentaries on America, however, have remained largely unavailable to the English reader. Land without Ghosts presents for the first time selections on America from Chinese writings over the last 150 years. Included are extracts from the travel diaries of nineteenth-century diplomats, a first-hand account of blacks in 1930s Alabama and of the young white Communists working to organize them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520084247
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 09/20/1993
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 588,298
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

R. David Arkush is Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Leo O. Lee is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Land Without Ghosts: Chinese Impressions of America from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ElizabethChapman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The historian and journalist Orville Schell writes of Land Without Ghosts "Americans have spent much time looking at China but have given little attention to what Chinese see when they look the other way. At last we have a wonderful book which makes us privy to these Chinese images of the West..."I'm quoting Schell because I agree; it's a fascinating experience to see your culture through the eyes of those foreign to it. Included in Land Without Ghosts are essays, stories, cartoons and a range of writing dating from 1848 to 1987.One entry is a short handbook from 1881 for Chinese envoys to Washington DC -- for example: "Westerners attach great importance to entertaining [...] If the host's wife is there, you must shake hands with her too and should not let yourself fee embarrassed because of Chinese etiquette [which forbids physical contact with unrelated women]. During a visit, if you have to cough, you must use a handkerchief to cover your mouth and you must not let your nose run all over or spit anywhere." Another excerpt is written by a young scholar, Liang Qichao, who was a champion of progress and democracy. Among his observations during a 1903 visit to the U.S. he wrote: "Americans have an unofficial form of punishment know as 'lynching' with which to treat blacks. [...] The American Declaration of Independence says that people are all born free and equal. Are blacks alone not people?"The title of the book comes from this 1937 essay by anthropologist Fei Xiaotong: "American children hear no stories about ghosts. They spend a dime at the 'drugstore' to buy a 'Superman' comic. [...] Superman represents actual capabilities or future potential, while ghosts symbolize belief in and reverence for accumulated past. [...] How could ghosts gain a foothold in American cities? People move about like the tide, unable to form permanent ties with places, to say nothing of other people. [...] Always being on the move dilutes the ties between people and dissolves the ghosts."