The first major cultural study to focus exclusively on this decisive period in modern British-Chinese relations. Based on extensive archival investigations, Peter J. Kitson shows how British kwledge of China was constructed from the writings and translations of a diverse range of missionaries, diplomats, travellers, traders, and literary men and women during the Romantic period. The new perceptions of China that it gave rise to were mediated via a dynamic print culture to a diverse range of poets, velists, essayists, dramatists and reviewers, including Jane Austen, Thomas Percy, William Jones, S. T. Coleridge, George Colman, Robert Southey, Charles Lamb, William and Dorothy Wordsworth and others, informing new British understandings and imaginings of China on the eve of the Opium War of 1839-42. Kitson aims to restore China to its true global presence in our understandings of the culture and literature of Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Peter J. Kitson is Professor of English at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Romantic Literature, Race and Colonial Encounter (2007).