Chinese textual practices

This page belongs to the "Cultures of the Book" course taught by J.J. O'Donnell at the University of Pennsylvania. It lists a few items known to me of interest for students of comparative textual practices across cultures, but cannot be taken as authoritative in any way. I am no Sinologist and happily welcome correction, supplementation, or advice in this area.

For a brief summary at the outset, here is a "handout" on the advantages and disadvantages of the writing system practiced since antiquity in China. See also a text on burning books -- fragments of history. Two recent studies with much illumination are: Susan Cherniack, "Book Culture and Textual Transmission in Sung China" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 54.1(1994) 5-102; and Thomas H.C. Lee, "Books and Bookworms in Song China: Book Collection and the Appreciation of Books," Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 25 (1995), 193-218.

Of particular interest for this course are issues involving the making and distribution of books. The Chinese invented printing, but Gutenberg got all the credit. On those topics, see:

Education is a chief vehicle for the propagation and determination of textual practices, and China's civil service examinatio system is a notable example of a highly rigid and stylized system of that sort. On that, see:

See also: Ulrich Stackmann, Die Geschichte der chinesischen Bibliothek Tian Yi Ge vom 16. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart (Stuttgart 1990). Stuttgart : F. Steiner, 1990.