Senses of the City

Perceptions of Hangzhou and Southern Song China, 1127–1279

Edited by Joseph S. C. Lam, Shuen-fu Lin, Christian de Pee, and Martin Powers

The Chinese University Press

Senses of the City

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Pub Date: July 2017

ISBN: 9789629967864

328 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00

Senses of the City

Perceptions of Hangzhou and Southern Song China, 1127–1279

Edited by Joseph S. C. Lam, Shuen-fu Lin, Christian de Pee, and Martin Powers

The Chinese University Press

The city of Hangzhou symbolized all of the contradictions of the declining Song Empire (960–1279). It was paramount and feeble, awe-inspiring and threatened, the most admired city and a disgrace to its dynastic founders. Rather than debate the merit of these polemical judgments, the contributors to this volume treat them as expressions of their historical moment, reflecting ideological convictions and aesthetic preferences.

Leading scholars of the field, including Beverly Bossler, Stephen West, and Martin Powers, have produced essays that relate changes in literary convention to shifts in territorial boundaries, and analyze writing, painting, dance, and music as means by which individual literati placed themselves in time and space. The contributors re-establish the historical connections between writing and meaningful action, between text and world, between the sources and their own words, and between the page and the senses. Their efforts to retrieve the sounds, sights, and smells of Hangzhou from Southern Song texts replicate, in reverse direction, the attempts of twelfth- and thirteenth-century authors to devise effective tropes and suitable genres that would preserve their living impressions of the city in writing.
By integrating work by cultural historians, literary scholars, historical musicologists, and art historians, Senses of the City has initiated a paradigm shift in how the next generation of sinologists will conceive of the lived experience of urban life in pre-modern China, as mediated through various literary genres and visual cultures. Editor's Review

About the Author

Joseph S. C. Lam is professor of musicology at the University of Michigan. His publications include Kunqu, the Classical Opera of Globalized China (forthcoming), Historical Studies on Song Dynasty Music: Theories and Narratives (in Chinese, 2012), and State Sacrifices and Music in Ming China: Creativity, Orthodoxy and Expressiveness (1998).

Shuen-fu Lin is professor emeritus of Chinese literature, at the University of Michigan. He is author of The Transformation of Chinese Lyrical Tradition: Chiang K'uei and Southern Sung Tz'u Poetry and Through a Window of Dreams: Selected Essays on Premodern Chinese Literature, Aesthetics, and Literary Theory, and contributor to The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature.

Christian de Pee is associate professor of history at the University of Michigan. He has published studies of Middle-period wedding rituals, gender, ritual archaism and antiquarianism, and archaeology. He is currently preparing an intellectual history of the city in eleventh-century China.

Martin Powers is Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts at the University of Michigan. Two of his books, Art and Political Expression in Early China and Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China received the Levenson Prize for best book in pre-twentieth century Chinese Studies.