This detailed, chrological study investigates the rise of the European fascination with the Chinese language up to 1615. By meticulously investigating a wide range of primary sources, Dinu Luca identifies a rhetorical continuum uniting the land of the Seres, Cathay, and China in a tropology of silence, vision, and writing. Tracing the contours of this tropology, The Chinese Language in European Texts: The Early Period offers close readings of language-related contexts in works by classical authors, medieval travelers, and Renaissance cosmographers, as well as various merchants, wanderers, and missionaries, both table and lesser-kwn. What emerges is a clear and comprehensive understanding of early European ideas about the Chinese language and writing system.
Dinu Luca is Assistant Professor of European Cultures at National Taiwan Normal University, USA.