Chinese Traditional Historiography

Chinese Traditional Historiography

Chinese Traditional Historiography

Chinese Traditional Historiography

Excerpt

The present small volume does not pretend to discover things new or strange. It rather aims at the systematic presentation of a part of those general ideas which are the necessary baggage of any historian who would handle the Chinese sources. It is intended primarily to smooth the path of the novice sinologist, to warn him of special perils and difficulties which beset his way, and to remind him of those canons of criticism which may help him to avoid some pitfalls. It is hoped that it may have some interest too for the professed historian in other fields who may have occasion to refer to Chinese sources in translation. It is with this latter reader in mind that an effort has been made to preserve the text as far as possible free from Chinese proper names and terminology, while still furnishing through footnotes to the specialist the indispensable minimum of concrete illustration and specific reference.

That this study has been prepared now, rather than a score of years hence, is due solely to the encouragement of my friend and colleague Professor Robert P. Blake. I am indebted to him also for calling to my notice the monumental and peculiarly stimulating work of Eduard Fueter, Histoire de l'historiographie moderne (Paris, 1914). Other friends, notably Professor L. C. Goodrich of Columbia and Professor J. J. L. Duyvendak of Leiden, have been kind enough to read and to point out some at least of the errors and inadequacies in the manuscript. My indebtedness is no less . . .

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