Imatge de l'autor

Owen Lattimore (1900–1989)

Autor/a de The Desert Road to Turkestan

27+ obres 333 Membres 2 Ressenyes

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Inclou el nom: Owen Latimore

Obres de Owen Lattimore

The Desert Road to Turkestan (1928) 68 exemplars
High Tartary (Kodansha Globe) (1930) 51 exemplars
Ordeal by slander (1950) 45 exemplars
Inner Asian frontiers of China (1951) 37 exemplars
The situation in Asia (1949) 12 exemplars
Solution in Asia (1945) 8 exemplars
Mongols of Manchuria (1934) 6 exemplars
Mongol journeys (1942) 4 exemplars

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I couldn't finish this book, on three tries. I wanted to like it more than tepidly, I love his siblings' books (Richmond Lattimore's Iliad and Odyssey are classics of translation and Eleanor Frances Lattimore's children's stories about Chinese kids are favourites to three generations of my family), and with my modest background in Chinese studies (BA in Classical Chinese linguistics) I was primed to read a book by one of the foremost China scholars of the 20th century. But this one didn't click with me. Stylistically, the use of Wade Giles romanization throughout was hard to take; and the place names that were sinicized from local dialects and then romanized were particularly confusing. Sometimes I wished the editors had inserted the Chinese characters sp I could have at least looked places up in my 中国古今地名大词典 (Dictionary of ancient and modern Chinese place names).

The background of the journey is the chaos of early 20th century China, corrupt and venal officialdom and marauding warlords. The foreground is the Gobi Desert peopled by camels and camelmen. Lattimore's narrative is sufficiently interesting when he's recounting events of his journey, but less so when he begins to lecture loftily about anthropology ("though so few in numbers, [the Edsin Gol Turguts] show, like other Mongols, divergent physical types, proving that the Mongols are not of unmixed blood"). Sometimes he sets out, apparently, to be a witty man-of-the-world type and succeeds in being offensive: contrasting the Mongol to the Qazaq (Kazakh) character, he offers it as his opinion that after centuries of history, "milling and swirling and campaigning and countermarching", "God let the whole stew simmer for a while and when the scum came up he called it Qazaq."
… (més)
muumi | Jun 18, 2020 |
He’s a large thinker. Thinking doesn’t go out of date, although the archaeology may. The summations of his arguments I’ve read a dozen times in other books didn’t remotely convey to me what’s in here to be found. For years I thought, I don’t have to go to the original... besides you have to hunt up an old copy. Perhaps they are treasured because there weren’t hundreds of them. Turns out, I’ve rarely learnt so much from a single work.

As for how it ages, it’s still cited with respect by Nicola Di Cosmo in Ancient China and Its Enemies, even while he tells us of disproven hypotheses. At least Owen Lattimore can stretch your mind. And he has sentences you want to inscribe on your wall for their graceful cogency.

But I suspect that Owen Lattimore, scholar, traveller, was equipped like no-one else has been – or can be, now – to look at the interworkings of geography and history along the frontier.
… (més)
Jakujin | Nov 14, 2013 |



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