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Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

H-85. The History of the Book in China

Soren Edgren


Preliminary Advices

In order to achieve the maximum benefit from this course it will be necessary to have some knowledge of East Asian history and of Chinese history in particular. There are many outlines and introductions to the subjects available, but the main thing to pay attention to is the historical chronology. It is desirable to be familiar with the dates and names of the major dynasties and historical periods.

Since there are few complete, self-contained histories for the subjects comprised by this course, I have given page ranges, within parentheses, for specific sections of most of the titles on the required reading list. In most cases, however, there will be added benefit to be had from reading the entire work. Problems and questions raised by the readings will be addressed in the course. If any works on this list are difficult to obtain or gain access to, please contact RBS.

Required reading

J. S. Edgren, "The History of the Book in China" (353-365), in Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

P. F. Kornicki, "The History of the Book in Japan" (375-385), in Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Beth McKillop, "The History of the Book in Korea" (366-373), in Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

NB: The above three essays are conveniently available in: Michael Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History (573-621). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose (ed.), A Companion to the History of the Book (97-125). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Cynthia Brokaw, "On the History of the Book in China" (3-54), in Cynthia Brokaw and Kai-Wing Chow (ed.), Printing and Book Culture in Late Imperial China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Tsuen-Hsuin Tsien, Paper and Printing. Joesph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 5, pt. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985 (Third printing, revised 1987, and later printings).

Tsuen-Hsuin Tsien, Written on Bamboo and Silk (1-206). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004 (Second edition).

Xiao Dongfa (ed.), From Oracle Bones to E-Publications (15-117). Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2009.

Joseph McDermott, A Social History of the Chinese Book (43-147). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006.

Recommended Reading

Thomas Carter, L. C. Goodrich (rev. ed.), The Invention of Printing in China and its Spread Westward. New York: Ronald Press, 1955 (Second edition, revised).

Denis Twitchett, Printing and Publishing in Medieval China. London: Wynkyn de Worde Society and New York: Frederic Beil, 1983.

Sören Edgren (ed.), Chinese Rare Books in American Collections. New York: China Institute, 1984.

Christopher Reed, Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Peter Kornicki, The Book in Japan. Leiden: Brill, 1998. The paperback edition, published by the University of Hawaii Press in 2000, is much more readily available at a reasonable price.

David Chibbett, The History of Japanese Printing and Book Illustration. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1977.

Park Byeng-Sen, Korean Printing: From its Origins to 1910. Seoul: Jimoondang, 2003.