Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man

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9780143114451: Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man

The writer and historian Zhang Dai is recognized as one of the intellectual heavyweights of China's Ming dynasty. When he was born into a wealthy family in 1597, the Ming dynasty had been in place for 229 years. Zhang Dai lived the first part of his life in a climate of political stability and cultural creativity: for China's late Ming period was a golden age - a time of wide-scale philanthropy, of significant achievements in the visual arts, literature and music, and of energetic inquiry in the fields of medicine and science. When the Ming were overthrown by the Manchu invasion of 1644, however, Zhang Dai's family lost its fortune and way of life. Zhang Dai fled to the countryside, where, as a writer of skill and acuity and passion, he spent his final 40 years recounting his previous way of life as a way of leaving a legacy to his children and rebuilding a spirit shattered by the violent upheaval he had witnessed. The distinguished China scholar Jonathan Spence has pored over Zhang Dai's extraordinary documents, and in Return to Dragon Mountain he brings 17th-century China vividly to life. Absorbing, subtle, and beautifully observed, Return to Dragon Mountain illuminates a complex and sophisticated society at a moment of profound cultural transformation. And in doing so, it reveals the ways in which China's history continues to affect its place in the world today.

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I have read Jonathan Spence's many previous books … but Return to Dragon Mountain is his masterpiece to date … Zhang Dai, an important historian of the Late Ming Dynasty, China's Golden Age, is so rendered by Return to Dragon Mountain that I am reminded of the narrator in Marcel Proust and also of Joseph Conrad's heroic but darkly fated heroes - Harold Bloom



His writing is authoritative, subtle, never over-complicated, and shows a rare elegance of phrase…. Immediacy, a rare commodity in Chinese history-writing, is what this book achieves, and it is indeed a joy - Literary Review

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Review for Return to Dragon Mountain:
I have read Jonathan Spence's many previous books...but Return to Dragon Mountain is his masterpiece to date...Zhang Dai, an important historian of the Late Ming Dynasty, China's Golden Age, is so rendered by Return to Dragon Mountain that I am reminded of the narrator in Marcel Proust and also of Joseph Conrad's heroic but darkly fated heroes - Harold Bloom

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Splendid . . . One could not imagine a better subject than Zhan Dai for Spence. (The New Republic) Celebrated China scholar Jonathan Spence vividly brings to life seventeenth-century China through this biography of Zhang Dai, recognized as one of the finest historians and essayists of the Ming dynasty. Born in 1597, Zhang Dai was forty-seven when the Ming dynasty, after more than two hundred years of rule, was overthrown by the Manchu invasion of 1644. Having lost his fortune and way of life, Zhang Dai fled to the countryside and spent his final forty years recounting the time of creativity and renaissance during Ming rule before the violent upheaval of its collapse. This absorbing tale of Zhang Dai s life illuminates the transformation of a culture and reveals how China s history affects its place in the world today. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143114451

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Splendid . . . One could not imagine a better subject than Zhan Dai for Spence. (The New Republic) Celebrated China scholar Jonathan Spence vividly brings to life seventeenth-century China through this biography of Zhang Dai, recognized as one of the finest historians and essayists of the Ming dynasty. Born in 1597, Zhang Dai was forty-seven when the Ming dynasty, after more than two hundred years of rule, was overthrown by the Manchu invasion of 1644. Having lost his fortune and way of life, Zhang Dai fled to the countryside and spent his final forty years recounting the time of creativity and renaissance during Ming rule before the violent upheaval of its collapse. This absorbing tale of Zhang Dai s life illuminates the transformation of a culture and reveals how China s history affects its place in the world today. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143114451

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Book Description Penguin Books. Paperback / softback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man, Jonathan D Spence, The renowned historian captures a critical moment in Chinese history Celebrated China scholar Jonathan Spence vividly brings to life seventeenth-century China through this biography of Z hang Dai, recognized as one of the finest historians and essayists of the Ming dynasty. Born in 1597, Z hang Dai was forty-seven when the Ming dynasty, after more than two hundred years of rule, was overthrown by the Manchu invasion of 1644. Having lost his fortune and way of life, Z hang Dai fled to the countryside and spent his final forty years recounting the time of creativity and renaissance during Ming rule before the violent upheaval of its collapse. This absorbing tale of Z hang Daias life illuminates the transformation of a culture and reveals how Chinaas history affects its place in the world today. Bookseller Inventory # B9780143114451

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