Michel Cartier, Danielle Elisseeff, Jacqueline Nivard, eds. Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie 1998. Paris: Editions de l'Ecole des Haute Etudes, 1998. xxi + 550 pp. 210 FF (cloth), ISBN 978-2-7132-1286-4.
Reviewed by Robert E. Entenmann (Department of History, St. Olaf College)
Published on H-Asia (June, 1999)
English-language scholarship has dominated Western studies of China for several decades, and as a result American scholars can often be complacent and provincial. The more ambitious among us try to keep abreast of articles in our fields by Chinese scholars, but we less often read contributions by Europeans and Japanese, unless they're available in English. We are intellectually poorer as a result.
One partial remedy is the annual Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie published in Paris, which gives comprehensive coverage to European as well as American scholarship, although somewhat less to scholarship in Chinese and Japanese. The 1998 volume carries abstracts of 287 books, as well as 266 articles from 116 journals. Roughly half the entries are in French, half in English. This is an international enterprise--nearly a hundred contributors represent over a dozen countries. The coverage emphasizes works in Western languages, including Russian, although many significant articles in Chinese and Japanese are also reviewed. Each section also carries an unannotated list of Chinese articles ("Dans les revues chinoises").
The bibliography is thematically arranged in the following categories:
Actualite [Current events--for some reason all these concern Taiwan, and two of the entries deal with the Qing period] Bibliographie Histoire et Sciences Sociales Art et Archeologie Musique Linguistique Litterature Philosophie et Religions Sciences et Techniques
The annotations are, on the whole, excellent. Some of the shorter ones are simply useful summaries, but the longer entries are rigorous critical reviews, often two or three pages in length. Jacqueline Nivard also offers a useful short overview of "Chine sur Internet 1998: Quelques Nouveautes."
In addition, there are five longer bibliographical essays:
Michela Bussotti, "General Survey of the Latest Studies in Western Languages on the History of Publishing in China" Michel Cartier, "L'histoire quantitative en Chine" Danielle Ellisseeff, "L'anthropozoologie: un theme nouveau dans quelques revues" Vincent Durand-Dastes, "Disputes dans la maison de Cang Jie. Le regain des querelles ideologiques sur l'ecriture chinois dans la presse et l'edition de Chine populaire" Anne-Marie Brady, "FrienLit, or, How to Become a Friend of China"
Not all these titles are self-explanatory. Elisseeff examines anthropozoology (how humans perceive animals and establish psychological and physical relations with them). Durand-Dastes discusses current politically-charged debates in China over the Chinese writing system. Brady's entertainingly cynical essay examines writings by or about Western expatriates who embraces the Chinese Communist cause, particularly George Hatem, Israel Epstein, Rewi Alley, and Jan Wong. French and English abstracts of each of these essays are provided.
This bibliography is superb, both for the scope of its coverage and the usefulness of its annotations. Any college or university library serious about covering China should carry this series.
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Robert E. Entenmann. Review of Cartier, Michel; Elisseeff, Danielle; Nivard, Jacqueline, eds., Revue Bibliographique de Sinologie 1998.
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