Distribution of Books and Literati Culture

Joseph P. McDermott

in A Social History of the Chinese Book

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9789622097810
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206557 | DOI:
Distribution of Books and Literati Culture

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This chapter explores important changes in book distribution and literati culture. It specifically investigates the changing fortunes of two possible solutions to the collectors' problem of acquiring Chinese books—gifts and purchase—as well as late Ming changes in the social composition of their ranks. It particularly pays attention to seven distinctive book collectors of the last century of Ming rule—the bibliophile Hu Yinglin, the publisher Mao Jin, the boss-editor Chen Jiru, the editor-publishers Gu Yuanqing and Yin Zhongchun, the bookseller-publisher-collector Tong Pei, and the private collector Xu Bo—in order to assess how the distribution of books changed in commercial channels from the Song to the late Ming periods. The topics covered range from peddlers, lending libraries, bookstores and the types of books acquired, to changes in the social position of these collectors and the ways some of them found to use their collections.

Keywords: book distribution; literati culture; gifts; purchase; Hu Yinglin; Mao Jin; Chen Jiru; Gu Yuanqing; Yin Zhongchun; Tong Pei

Chapter.  13118 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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