Sher-shiueh Li 李奭學
NTU & HYI Academic Book Series No. 13
National Taiwan University Press, November 2022
About the book: Joseph de Prémare was a French Jesuit, who came to Jianxi, China, in the reign of Emperor Kangxi. He was banished to Guangzhou by the next Emperor Yonzheng who had been hostile to Catholicism. Drawing on Cicero’s “Dream of Scipio,” Prémare wrote a story in classical Chinese titled “Dreaming about Paradise” (“Meng Meitu ji”) and in vernacular Chinese he wrote a novella titled Confucianism Befriending the Apostolic Creed (Rujiaoxin). Both texts began the tradition of “missionary novels” in the Qing dynasty. In Guangzhou, Prémare translated eight poems from the Shijing (Classic of Odes), followed immediately by his most famous rendition of The Orphan of Zhao, a play that influenced European theatre greatly in the eighteenth century. Prémare also compiled a book, Notitia linguæ sinicæ, on the grammar and rhetoric of the Chinse language in 1728, wherein he showcased his enormous knowledge of Chinese literature, both classical and vernacular. The present book explores in depth the argument and theme of these five works, elaborating particularly on how Prémare enlisted “Jesuit figurism” to structure them.
About the NTU & HYI Academic Series: The book series, published by National Taiwan University Press, is a collaboration between the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the College of Liberal Arts of National Taiwan University. The Series publishes scholarly monographs in Chinese which make a major original contribution to the humanities and social sciences. Interdisciplinary studies are especially welcome. Submissions are encouraged from all Chinese-speaking regions and beyond. For more information about the NTU-HYI series, please visit the NTU Press website.