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Asian CrossingsTravel Writing on China, Japan and Southeast Asia$
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Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099142

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099142.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Asian Crossings

Clark Steve

Hong Kong University Press

The essays in this book continually negotiate the vexed question of how far it is possible to transpose generic norms and developmental sequences based on European travelogue, whose multiple variants include pilgrimage, voyage literature, Grand Tour, natural history, and picturesque sightseeing, and whose participants include colonial administrator, journalist-spy, and postmodern pasticheur. An overview of the chapters included in this book is shown. Topics covered include trade missions to China, the travels of Isabella Bird in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, confounding the imperial gaze in Southeast Asia, an odd couple in East Asia, and travels in and out of Japan. The essays are unified geographically and historically, but are not governed by a single overarching thesis. However, they do share the emphasis of newer imperial history on cultural dispersal, multiple sources, and resistance to teleological narratives of empire.

Keywords:   trade missions, China, travel, Isabella Bird, Japan, imperial history, Southeast Asia

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