Chapter

Constructing New Reading Publics in Late Ming China

Anne E. McLaren

in Printing and Book Culture in Late Imperial China

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520231269
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927797 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231269.003.0004
Constructing New Reading Publics in Late Ming China

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This chapter examines the emergence of new reading publics in China during the late Ming Dynasty. It traces the shifting constructions of readers, authors, and editors; the broadening of reading practices during this period; and the emergence of an apologia for vernacular print. The chapter discusses the paradigms underlying notions of readers; authors and reading practices, beginning with the standards set by the Neo-Confucian thinker Zhu Xi; and argues that the expanding lexicon for authoring and reading texts was based on a set of suppositions seeking to legitimize vernacular print. It also describes the editorial practices of Yu Xiangdou, who was perhaps the first to write commentary aimed specifically at readers with low educational and literacy levels.

Keywords: reading publics; China; Ming Dynasty; reading practices; vernacular print; Zhu Xi; Yu Xiangdou; literacy levels; editorial practices

Chapter.  15420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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