German Thinkers on China

Published and with an afterword by Adrian Hsia. – Newly commented eBook edition.

„I consider it a singular plan of the fates that the greatest culture and the greatest technical civilization of humanity should today be concentrated, as it were, in the two extremes of our continent, in Europe and in China,” Leibniz wrote enthusiastically in 1697. His book “Novissima Sinica” formed, as it were, the prelude to much systematic preoccupation with the Middle Kingdom by renowned German philosophers and writers.

The anthology German thinkers on China presents a selection of central and influential texts on the German reception of China over four centuries, by authors ranging from Leibniz, Kant, Lichtenberg and Herder to Hegel, Marx and Franz Mehring to Karl Jaspers. It vividly portrays how – in the course of the Jesuit mission, mercantilism and finally colonialism – the initially distant China increasingly moved into the consciousness of the spiritual Europe. However, it also becomes clear that almost all the thinkers’ understanding of Chinese society and culture remained to a large extent trapped in the collective fashions, ideologies and views of their own time and society.

(eBook) – ca. 390 pages – 6,90 $ / 4,99 £ – Order