China in the German Enlightenment
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.
- Series: German and European Studies
- World Rights
- Page Count: 224 pages
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 0.8in x 9.3in
‘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.’
The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory vol 92:02:2017
‘The volume as a whole and each individual essay will inspire future scholarly interest in the German reception of China.’
Monatshefte vol 109:02:2017
"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 InformationBettina 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
Daniel Purdy and Bettina Brandt
1. How the Chinese became Yellow: A Contribution to the Early History of Race Theories
2. Leibniz on the Existence of Philosophy in China
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)
5. Localizing China: Of Knowledge, Genres, and German Literary Historiography
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
8. Neo-Romantic Modernism and Daoism: Martin Buber on the Teaching as Fulfillment
Jeffrey S. Librett
Subjects and Courses