Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review - "Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man" by Jonathan D. Spence

The author is a China expert and it is obvious that he loves ancient Chinese culture, especially the Ming dynasty cultural and literary scene. Zhang Dai was indeed a most interesting personage - born of a wealthy family but who cultivated an independent worldview all too different from his mundane gentry peers and relatives. Charged with a self-imposed duty of writing Ming history, he was at once a critical commentator on social ills and a romantic idealist who was obsessed with a past that was marked by cultural creativity and decadent materialism. I enjoyed Jonathan D. Spence's writing and his reconstruction of the life and times of a famous Ming historian and essayist.

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