Nineteenth Century Books on China contains 733 monographs about China written in English, or translated into English. The collection is primarily composed of works first published in the nineteenth century, but, where appropriate, important works of the late eighteenth century and early twentieth century are also included. The principal guide for selection is Henri Cordier's Biblioteca Sinica, Paris, 1904-07 and Supplement, 1921. This is complemented by both rare and renowned material from the holdings of the British Library, primarily the Oriental and India Office Collections.
The Collection is arranged in subject areas, which combine to provide an insight into the culture and history of China from both Eastern and Western perspectives.
'The period covered by this collection is the most turbulent and tormented in Chinese history, from the apogee of the last imperial dynasty as observed by Lord Macartney's embassy in 1793, to its final overthrow with the end of the imperial system in the revolution of 1911. During this time the dominant foreign power in China was Great Britain. Much important documentation of the period is found in the writings of British soldiers, diplomats, merchants, missionaries, adventurers and scholars. Many had unique opportunities for intimate acquaintance with China through long periods of residence in the country and often personal participation in historical events.
This collection contains a representative selection of the best of these writings, including many works of great rarity which are now reprinted for the first time'.
Professor Charles Aylmer
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