China in the German Enlightenment

Edited by Bettina Brandt and Daniel Leonhard Purdy

© 2016

Over the course of the eighteenth century, European intellectuals shifted from admiring China as a utopian place of wonder to despising it as a backwards and despotic state. That transformation had little to do with changes in China itself, and everything to do with Enlightenment conceptions of political identity and Europe’s own burgeoning global power.

China in the German Enlightenment considers the place of German philosophy, particularly the work of Leibniz, Goethe, Herder, and Hegel, in this development. Beginning with the first English translation of Walter Demel’s classic essay “How the Chinese Became Yellow,” the collection’s essays examine the connections between eighteenth-century philosophy, German Orientalism, and the origins of modern race theory.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 0.8in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP003821

  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

    From: $42.00

    Regular Price: $56.00

    ISBN 9781442648456
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2016

    From: $42.00

    Regular Price: $56.00

Quick Overview

China in the German Enlightenment examines the connections between eighteenth-century philosophy, German Orientalism, and the origins of modern race theory.

China in the German Enlightenment

Edited by Bettina Brandt and Daniel Leonhard Purdy

© 2016

Over the course of the eighteenth century, European intellectuals shifted from admiring China as a utopian place of wonder to despising it as a backwards and despotic state. That transformation had little to do with changes in China itself, and everything to do with Enlightenment conceptions of political identity and Europe’s own burgeoning global power.

China in the German Enlightenment considers the place of German philosophy, particularly the work of Leibniz, Goethe, Herder, and Hegel, in this development. Beginning with the first English translation of Walter Demel’s classic essay “How the Chinese Became Yellow,” the collection’s essays examine the connections between eighteenth-century philosophy, German Orientalism, and the origins of modern race theory.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 0.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘The volume as a whole and each individual essay will inspire future scholarly interest in the German reception of China.’


    Weijia Li
    Monatshefte vol 109:02:2017

    ‘The book collects eight remarkably coherent essays by historians, philosophers, and Germanists… After reading these well-crafted essays, we cannot help feeling the gratification afforded by new historical knowledge.’


    Chenxi Tang
    The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory vol 92:02:2017

    "Brandt and Purdy assemble in this volume a collection of original and incisive essays that wrestle with the complexities of German thinkers’ engagement with philosophical, ethnographic, and material manifestations of ‘China’ over the long eighteenth century. The essays at once complicate and re-invigorate our understanding of China’s pivotal role in the emergent project of European cultural self-fashioning that continues to shape the legacies of Enlightenment."


    David Porter, Departments of English and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan

    "In my opinion, this collection is a major research contribution. Every chapter is a work of original research and original interpretation solidly based on the analysis of primary texts and relevant secondary sources."


    Peter K.J. Park, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas - Dallas
  • Author Information

    Bettina Brandt is on the faculty of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Penn State University.


    Daniel Leonhard Purdy is on the faculty of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Penn State University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    Daniel Purdy and Bettina Brandt

    1. How the Chinese became Yellow: A Contribution to the Early History of Race Theories
    Walter Demel

    2. Leibniz on the Existence of Philosophy in China
    Franklin Perkins

    3. Leibniz between Paris, Grand Tartary, and the Far East: Gerbillon’s Intercepted Letter
    Michael C. Carhart

    4. The Problem of China: Asia and Enlightenment Anthropology (Buffon, de Pauw, Blumenbach, Herder)
    Carl Niekerk

    5. Localizing China: Of Knowledge, Genres, and German Literary Historiography
    Birgit Tautz

    6. Eradicating the Orientalists: Goethe’s Chinesisch-deutsche Jahres- und Tageszeiten
    John K. Noyes

    7. China on Parade: Hegel’s Manipulation of His Sources and His Change of Mind
    Robert Bernasconi

    8. Neo-Romantic Modernism and Daoism: Martin Buber on the Teaching as Fulfillment
    Jeffrey S. Librett

Related Titles