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Books of physiology and hygiene published in late Qing Dynasty and their readers

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image of Frontiers of History in China

There were numerous books of physiology and hygiene published in the cultural market of the late Qing Dynasty. Their writing and translating purposes, hygienic concepts and hygienic identification in these books displayed the intellectual elites’ efforts in constructing “hygienic modernity” and establishing a national state. Books of physiology and hygiene published in the late Qing Dynasty were firstly translated and edited by missionaries and it was not until 1894 that many Chinese began to edit, translate, and write books of this kind. About one hundred and thirty varieties of books of physiology and hygiene were published in the late Qing Dynasty, most of them were textbooks widely read by people and commonly accepted as books of “hygiene” or “medical science” together with the then published books of Western medical science and books on how to keep a good health. At that time, hygiene was not only a guideline for people’s life and consumption, but also became an ideology to distinguish civilization and savageness with its significance gradually connected with race and nation.


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