Gutenberg in Shanghai
408 pages, 6 x 9
45 b&w illustrations
Release Date:01 Jan 2005
Release Date:25 Mar 2004
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Gutenberg in Shanghai

Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937

UBC Press

In the mid-1910s, what historians call the "Golden Age ofChinese Capitalism" began, accompanied by a technologicaltransformation that included the drastic expansion of China’s"Gutenberg revolution." Gutenberg in Shanghaiexamines this process. It finds the origins of that revolution in thecountry’s printing industries of the late imperial period andanalyzes their subsequent development in the Republican era.

This book, which relies on documents previously unavailable to bothWestern and Chinese researchers, demonstrates how Western technologyand evolving traditional values resulted in the birth of a unique formof print capitalism whose influence on Chinese culture was far-reachingand irreversible. Its conclusion contests scholarly arguments that viewChina’s technological development as slowed by culture, or thatinterpret Chinese modernity as mere cultural continuity.

A vital reevaluation of Chinese modernity, Gutenberg inShanghai will be enthusiastically received by scholars of Chinesehistory and by specialists in cultural studies, political science,sociology, the history of the book, and the anthropology of science andtechnology.


  • 2005, Winner - Book Prize - Humanities, International Convention of Asian Scholars
  • 2005, Commended - Delong Book Prize, Society for the History of Authorship
Christopher A. Reed is a member of the HistoryDepartment at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.


1 Gutenberg’s Descendants: Transferring IndustrializedPrinting Technology to China, 1807-1930

2 Janus-Faced Pioneers: The Golden Age of Shanghai’sLithographic Printer-Publishers, 1876-1905

3 "Sooty Sons of Vulcan": Forging Shanghai’sPrinting Machinery, 1897-1937

4 "The Hub of the Wheel": Commerce, Technology, andOrganizational Innovation in Shanghai’s New-Style PublishingWorld, 1876-c. 1911

5 "The Three Legs of the Tripod": Commercial Press,Zhonghua Books, and World Books, 1912-37




Selected Asian-Language Bibliography

Selected Western-Language Bibliography


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