History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

By Paul A. Cohen | Go to book overview
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Wright, "Introduction", 1.
Wasserstrom, "The Boxers as Symbol", 10-11.
Veyne, Writing History, 40.
Although the mythologization of the Boxers in the twentieth-century West is also touched on occasionally, this mythologization has had its own inner dynamic. To treat it properly would take us deeply into Western fears and fantasies, resulting both in a blurring of the book's focus and an unnecessary addition to its already considerable girth.
The reference is to the famous Kurosawa film dealing with a rape-murder in eleventh-century Japan and the different versions the four people who witnessed it had of what happened.
Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre, 3.
A partial exception to this is in the area of oral history testimony. Although there are unpublished oral history materials relating to 1900, focused mainly on Hebei (Zhili) province and more specifically on the Tianjin region, and I have found them (especially the earlier ones gathered in the 1950s) to be exceptionally useful, the interview materials covering the pre-1900 period in Shandong (partly published) are both more extensive and more systematically arranged.

PART 1 / Prologue: The Historically Reconstructed Past
NYT, Mar 10, 1989, C4.
Carr, Time, 9, 16; see also ibid., 65, 73, 168-69, 177. For White views, see his "The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory", 1-33; for Ricoeur's (which are discussed admiringly in White's article), see his Time and Narrative, vol. 1.
Carr, in the final part of his book, explicitly acknowledges some of the characteristics of historical narration that seem to set it apart from participant narration. The differences, however, are of a practical rather than a formal sort, and form, rather than practice, is what counts for the author. Thus, in practical terms, the historian has hindsight, while the subjects about whom he or she writes do not. But in formal terms people in the present also have a kind of hindsight -- Carr calls it "quasi-hindsight" -- inasniuch as they are able to anticipate future outcomes and


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History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth


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