Picturing Clunas: A Review Essay

TitlePicturing Clunas: A Review Essay
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsBrook, T
JournalMing Studies
ISBN Number0147-037X

The challenge when reviewing the work of the Scottish cultural historian Craig Clunas consists not in having to decide whether he is simply the most interesting scholar writing in the field of Ming culture, but in figuring out why. He doesn’t read more sources than anyone else; he reads widely, of course, but he tends to stay within a particular bibliography and go back over materials he has already used, mining them for more insights and information. He doesn’t necessarily know more about the subjects he takes up than anyone else, although he does appear to have an unerring instinct for stumbling onto understudied aspects of Ming life that everyone else has taken for granted, then probing them for all they will yield. Nor does he venture to be ambitiously encyclopedic in his coverage of topics, although again he has a nose for looking laterally from every subject he tackles to take in the vistas that open out on all sides. No, what makes his books a pleasure to read is their knack for conveying the impression that the author always has his eye on the spectral whole that looms up behind any particular topic, and into which he can fit all topics with ease and certainty. Whatever the parts, the whole always comes to a higher sum. Document Type: Research article DOI: 10.1179/014703798788754372 You have access to the full text electronic article You, or the institution you are accessing from, have subscription access to this publication. View now:   728.0439453125kb           Key: - Free Content - New Content - Subscribed Content - Free Trial Content Website © 2009 Ingenta. Article copyright remains with the publisher, society or author(s) as specified within the article. Electronic content Journal or book title Subscribed titles   Search history Tools Article access options Subscribe Export E Linking Alerting Options Bookmark Signed in as: + Proquest Sign in User name Password Remember me Need to register? Sign up here Text size: