The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien Lung. LUTHER CARRINGTON GOODRICH.
The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien Lung.
The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien Lung.

The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien Lung.

Baltimore. Waverly Press. 1935. First edition. Stock ID #31255

xii + 275pp, indices, bibliography, surviving proscribed works. Signature of a prior owner and neat ownership stamp title page, original silk covered boards a little marked, spine gilt. Occasional minor foxing and browning, a good copy. American Council of Learned Societies. Studies in Chinese and Related Civilisations Number 1.

The Chinese written tradition is justifiably famous both for its coverage and accuracy. However what is sometimes forgotten is the role of the ruler in "correcting" history. Such a time of "correction" or censorship occurred during the reign of Ch'ien-Lung/Qianlong when over 2500 titles and it is thought over 150,000 books were destroyed or banned. The authors of these works were often put to death and in some cases their families both immediate and extended were also executed or tortured to death.

The author in this book lists eight main principles which guided those seeking out the "seditious literature". 1. Was it anti-dynastic or rebellious? 2. Did it insult previous dynasties which were, in a sense, ancestral to the Ch'ing? 3. Did it concern the northern and north western frontiers and military or naval defence? 4. Was it by, or did it contain the writings of certain authors? 5. Did it contain heterodox opinion on the Confucian canon? 6. Was the style un-literary?. 7. Did it give a biased or, in Qing eyes, unfavourable account of any incident or series of events in Chinese-Qing period of conflict of the 17th century? 8. Did it concern such political parties as the Tung-lin and Fu-she, which flourished at the end of the Ming?

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