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Chapter Summary

In analyzing encyclopaedias' information on Chinese language and literature, we need to keep in mind, that European knowledge on these matters had been rather limited until the advent of sinology as an academic discipline in the early nineteenth century. In the presentation of the Chinese language, the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia referred to grammar, syntax, punctuation, and to the styles of composition as well as to vernacular Chinese. The presentation of Chinese writing reflects the state of printing Chinese characters in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. Although the Chinese language had been described as unattainable for Europeans for a long time, information on works of Chinese literature was included in encyclopaedias. Early nineteenth-century European encyclopaedias clearly showed the importance of leishu not only for the literary tradition of China but also for the emerging discipline of sinology.

Keywords:Chinese language; Chinese literature; European encyclopaedias



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