Scratches on Our Minds: American Views of China and India

Scratches on Our Minds: American Views of China and India

Scratches on Our Minds: American Views of China and India

Scratches on Our Minds: American Views of China and India

Synopsis

A presentation of eight contemporary Chinese women writers, representing two generations of women with different backgrounds and experiences. The selections explore esthetic, cultural and ideological problems that continue to challenge Chinese women.

Excerpt

For nearly a decade now, a new generation of Americans has been experiencing the beginning of a reencounter with China and the Chinese. This book, first published in 1958, examines the pictures in our heads, the scratches on our minds about China--and India as well--as they turned up in interviews with Americans of the generation that matured during the earlier decades of this century. Many of these images will glint familiarly, even for younger readers now, for the interviews in this book show how far back these impressions go, how they have been shaped at various stages by the history through which they have passed and the literature and the folklore that has grown up around them. Formed from mingled strands of the real and the imagined, they appear and reappear in their positive or negative aspects, summoned up by the needs and nature of the time and the circumstances of the individual's encounter with them. the way we see other peoples depends on the window through which we look at the world, what we see through it, when, under what lights and shadows and, especially, in what larger setting, for whatever the many varieties of individual experience, each one's outlook is perhaps most heavily influenced by the larger political, economic, and cultural facts of the relationship at the given time.

In the case of China, Americans had a history of more or less continuous contact of some kind for more than 150 years up to 1949. This history is traced in this book through its successive "ages," all of them marked heavily by the impacts of the American missionary enterprise in China. Then, after the advent of . . .

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