City of Virtues
Nanjing in an Age of Utopian Visions
Throughout Nanjing's history, writers have claimed that its spectacular landscape of mountains and rivers imbued the city with "royal qi," making it a place of great political significance. City of Virtues examines the ways a series of visionaries, drawing on past glories of the city, projected their ideologies onto Nanjing as they constructed buildings, performed rituals, and reworked the literary heritage of the city. More than an urban history of Nanjing from the late 18th century until 1911 - encompassing the Opium War, the Taiping occupation of the city, the rebuilding of the city by Zeng Guofan, and attempts to establish it as the capital of the Republic of China - this study shows how utopian visions of the cosmos shaped Nanjing's path through the turbulent 19th century.
The book makes an important contribution . . . and fits nicely into a growing body of recent scholarship that is reevaluating nineteenth-century China in general and mid-century rebellions in particular.
This is good work, well executed, and the product of years of skilled research. It connects to several areas of recent interest in the field: urban history, the Taiping civil war, political culture, and the relationship between literary landscape and other geographies.
Reign Dates of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
Introduction: An Age of Utopian Visions
1. The Qianlong Emperor's Tours of the Imperial City, 1751-84
2. Literati Politics in the Early Nineteenth Century
3. Wang Shiduo's Flight from the New Jerusalem, 1853-64
4. Zeng Guofan's Construction of a Ritual Center, 1864-72
5. Chen Zuolin Reassembles the Poetic City, 1872-1912
Conclusion: Elements of Utopia
Abbreviations Used in the Notes
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