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ERIC Number: EJ984422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
Lessons from the Empire of Writing
Yee, Cordell D. K.
Academic Questions, v25 n1 p125-143 Mar 2012
One of the reasons often advanced for the study of Western civilization is its history of scientific and technical prowess. Advances in science and technology have resulted in the many conveniences of modern life: air travel, automobiles, and smart phones, to name just a few. These are fruits of the Baconian project, which emphasized observation and measurement in the study of nature as part of an endeavor to "establish and extend the power and dominion of the human race itself over the whole universe." Bacon identified three inventions that separated the ancients from the moderns: (1) the magnetic compass; (2) gunpowder; and (3) printing. Of interest is the last, which has been the object of considerable scholarly attention during the past few decades. The advent of printing has been credited with initiating a revolution that resulted in increased literacy, an enlarged market for books and other publications, and an increased flow of news, information, and knowledge. In short, printing helped to lay the foundations for the development of modern democratic polities, so much so that freedom of the press is held to be fundamental to democracy. It so happens that printing appeared first in China, as well as the other two inventions Bacon cites. China has its own heritage of technical prowess. Paper, which was crucial for the development of printing in the West, was also invented in China. Without paper, the print revolution would have at least been delayed. The author's interest initially lies in the response in China to the advent of printing. A print revolution in the Western mode did not occur. Consideration of this nonevent will lead to what lies near the heart of Chinese civilization and to what the author thinks people gain from the study of China. In this article, the author looks at writing as literature and as linguistic medium, and at the interaction of at least two of the three perfections (calligraphy, poetry, and painting). (Contains 2 exhibits, 2 figures and 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China