By Christopher Reed

Within the mid-1910s, what historians name the "Golden Age of chinese language Capitalism" begun, observed via a technological transformation that incorporated the drastic enlargement of China’s "Gutenberg revolution." Gutenberg in Shanghai is a superb exam of this approach. It reveals the origins of that revolution within the country’s printing industries of the past due imperial interval and analyzes their next improvement within the Republican era.Under varied social, political, and monetary affects, this technological and cultural revolution observed woodblock printing changed with Western mechanical strategies. This booklet, which is dependent upon records formerly unavailable to either Western and chinese language researchers, demonstrates how Western know-how and evolving conventional values ended in the delivery of a special type of print capitalism whose effect on chinese language tradition used to be far-reaching and irreversible. Its end contests scholarly arguments that view China’s technological improvement as slowed via tradition, or that interpret chinese language modernity as mere cultural continuity.A important reevaluation of chinese language modernity, Gutenberg in Shanghai will entice students of chinese language heritage. Likewise, will probably be enthusiastically acquired via experts in cultural stories, political technology, sociology, the background of the booklet, and the anthropology of technological know-how and expertise.

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

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For the first time in China scholarship, it shows that China’s traditional culture influenced its modern technological choices in constructive ways. Despite their conservatism, the lithographers simultaneously raised treaty-port Shanghai’s intellectual profile and brought about new social and commercial forms that set the stage for the comprehensive lead-type printing and publishing industry that, in turn, superseded but did not wholly replace lithography or even xylography. The following stage in China’s mastery of the nineteenth-century European revolution in printing technology is examined in Chapter 3, which studies Shanghai’s printing-press manufacturing industry.

44 Four years after Ge Gongzhen’s book appeared, He Shengnai, the Commercial Press’s colour-printing supervisor, wrote that Chinese printing technology spread first to Japan (in the eighth century) and eventually to Europe, where the German, Gutenberg, was influenced by it. ”45 Nonetheless, Gutenberg was important to He, as he was to Ge – only as a means for making claims about China’s past greatness. In the 1930s, however, as China’s modern education system became increasingly Westernized, bringing with it the popular ideal of technological progress,46 Gutenberg grew more recognizable to the Chinese for the lessons that he could teach.

In spite of having its roots in an illegal effort at Introduction ideological subversion, this process marks the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as one of world history’s most fertile periods of international technological transfer prior to the post-World War II era. Chapter 2 shows how the conservative motivations of traditional Chinese publishers and booksellers were reflected in Shanghai’s lithographic industry starting in 1876. Reversing the conventional narrative, for the first time in either Chinese- or English-language scholarship, this chapter demonstrates that lithography, not letterpress (movable lead type) printing, was the industry that brought about the transition from traditional woodblock printing to mechanization.

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