Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937 by Christopher Reed

By Christopher Reed

Within the mid-1910s, what historians name the "Golden Age of chinese language Capitalism" started, observed by means of a technological transformation that integrated the drastic growth of China’s "Gutenberg revolution." Gutenberg in Shanghai is an excellent exam of this technique. It unearths the origins of that revolution within the country’s printing industries of the overdue imperial interval and analyzes their next improvement within the Republican era.Under assorted social, political, and monetary impacts, this technological and cultural revolution observed woodblock printing changed with Western mechanical techniques. This ebook, which depends on files formerly unavailable to either Western and chinese language researchers, demonstrates how Western expertise and evolving conventional values led to the delivery of a special kind of print capitalism whose impact on chinese language tradition was once far-reaching and irreversible. Its end contests scholarly arguments that view China’s technological improvement as slowed through tradition, or that interpret chinese language modernity as mere cultural continuity.A very important reevaluation of chinese language modernity, Gutenberg in Shanghai will attract students of chinese language historical past. Likewise, it will likely be enthusiastically obtained through experts in cultural reports, political technological know-how, sociology, the background of the ebook, and the anthropology of technology and expertise.

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Extra info for Gutenberg in Shanghai: Chinese Print Capitalism, 1876-1937

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Source: Yiwen yinshua yuekan/The Graphic Printer (Shanghai) 2, 2 (1939): 39. told, Fust called in his loans and, when Gutenberg could not pay, confiscated the print shop. Still, the authors stressed, Gutenberg’s spirit would not be subdued. With the help of Conrad Hummery, Gutenberg started up another printing operation, but unfortunately he died in 1468 before he could make a success of it. From these evolving Chinese views of Gutenberg, several conclusions can be drawn. 53 Second, their initial interest had less to do with Gutenberg himself and more to do with Carter’s enthusiasm for China’s own ancient role in the development of what the world acknowledged to be an important technology.

Where many works imply that technological diffusion and change, along with social transformation and adaptation to that change, are best left unexamined, this book deliberately seeks to problematize them. The traditional Chinese printing and publishing industry was widely dispersed across the Chinese empire, partly for cultural reasons and partly because of the nature of its technology. Making sense of the meaning of the centralization that occurred when Shanghai came to dominate the modern industry is possible only when that industry can be compared both to what came before it in China and to what was common in other parts of the world.

13 Hand-cast movable metal type was soon supplemented with type 33 34 Gutenberg’s Descendants stamped out using dies. 15 The letterpress printing of Chinese, a nonalphabetic language with some 40,000 characters,16 required the creation of standard-size, indivisible logotype (“word” type), rather than mere letters used to make up words, a requirement that stymied early foreign efforts. 17 Furthermore, regardless of whether a Chinese character had few or many strokes, all characters had to be the same size on the printed page to look acceptable to Chinese readers.

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