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Xu Xiake’s Travel Notes: Motion, Records and Genre Change

  • Yi Zheng
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 30)

Abstract

This study examines the Late Ming Chinese traveler Xu Hongzu’s (1586–1641) travel notes Xiake Youji against the background of the transformations in Ming (1368–1644) social, economic and literati culture. It suggests that the genre change of which Xu’s text is a forerunner is directly related to the increasing importance of spatial movement and with it changing forms of knowledge as well as roles of the literati-knower at the time. It explores how Xu’s method of recording and structuring movement, observations and knowledge in accounting for his travels not only takes on what might be described as systematic empiricist tendencies but also redefines their limits, thus differing from prevalent travel jottings as occasion for lyrical expression, affective association and intellectual meditation. It argues that in the process Xu made the kind of knowledge making his contemporaries discussed and theorized a life-long practice. He devised ways of writing the process of spatial movement as process of knowing, and the knower as imperturbable explorer in uncompromising motion.

Keywords

Spatial Movement Kunlun Mountain Intellectual History Affective Association Walk Stick 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chinese Studies, School of Humanities and LanguagesThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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