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Backgrounds Of Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This study focuses on discourses on China as represented in European reference works in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It also pays particular attention to the evolution of European images of China, as mirrored in works of general knowledge. Closely related to bibliographic descriptions of encyclopaedias and intended to serve as an aid for future users of works of general knowledge are review articles that commented on newly published encyclopaedic works. The function and value of such reviews for historical research in encyclopaedias comprises three aspects: (a) an overview of the state of the field, including remarks on the transnational dissemination of encyclopaedic models and concepts, (b) glimpses into the history and periodization of the genre, and (c) an assessment of the encyclopaedia(s) under review by their contemporaries immediately (or soon) after its/their publication.

Keywords: China; encyclopaedias; encyclopaedic models; European



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