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The Romance of China: Excursions to China in U.S. Culture, 1776-1876

John Rogers Haddad

December, 2008
Cloth, 348 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13094-3
$65.00 / £45.00

John Rogers Haddad's analytically rich and methodologically complex work attends to various appearances of Chinese culture in America throughout the nineteenth century. Through a close examination of museums, panoramic paintings, blue and white ceramics, tea advertisements, travelogues, missionary accounts, children's literature, and world fairs, Haddad counters the idea that imperialist domination and racial prejudice eclipsed cultural exchange between Asia and the West during this period.

Americans who journeyed to China tended to acquire a degree of respect and admiration for the complex civilization they encountered. Upon returning to the United States, they assembled displays, shows, books, and other cultural forms designed to share their knowledge with ordinary Americans. Haddad's research also reveals the surprising fact that the Chinese played a large but subtle role in shaping the representation of their culture in the United States. Far from being passive, the Chinese exerted substantial control over China's exported image.

Haddad's fascinating study reveals how the Unites States, then the newest country in the world, first became acquainted with China, the oldest nation. With the ongoing rise and increased relevance of China on today's global stage, this volume provides invaluable insight into how these two nations might get to know each other again in the twenty-first century.

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About the Author

John Rogers Haddad teaches classes on American culture at Penn State Harrisburg, where he is associate professor of American studies and literature. He currently resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with his wife Catherine and his two children, William and Elizabeth.

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