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Full referenceReed, Christopher Alexander, "Gutenberg in Shanghai: Mechanized printing, modern publishing, and their effects on the city, 1876-1937" (1996)
TypeDissertation
Author(s)Reed, Christopher Alexander
Title"Gutenberg in Shanghai: Mechanized printing, modern publishing, and their effects on the city, 1876-1937"
Year1996
UniversityUniversity of California, Berkeley
M.A./Ph.D.M.A.
LanguageEnglish
SubjectHistory
Keywordsculture; economy; industry
AbstractIn the historiography of China, social or intellectual change is frequently traced to an educational institution. Christopher A. Reed's Gutenberg in Shanghai: Mechanized Printing, Modern Publishing, and Their Impact on the City, 1876 to 1937 traces the emergence of Shanghai as an intellectual center to its business and industrial institutions. Initially a dispersed and disorganized industry offering employment to refugees and orphans, by the 1930s, Shanghai's Chinese-language book publishing sector dominated both a central district of treaty-port Shanghai and the national market for modern publications. From the heart of Shanghai, modern Chinese publishers displaced older publishing centers and came to influence national agendas in educational and intellectual life. in these six decades, how did Shanghai's modern Chinese publishers foster conditions that made this city a national center of cultural life? the development of this cultural industry, a process which was by no means inevitable, is narrated and analyzed by looking at its four main features: (1) its claim, both commercial and intellectual, on the late imperial national book market; (2) Shanghai's lithographic publishing system, the necessary bridge from small-scale artisanal printing and publishing to modern industrial book production; (3) the evolution of the corporate publishing company system and its editorial processes; and, (4) the emergence of the factory system that supplied the industry with locally-produced machinery and printers. The successful adaptation of Western technology and business forms to radical new Chinese book publishing goals are shown to have enabled public-spirited entrepreneurs and intellectuals to use this industry to achieve prominence within Shanghai, as well as beyond its borders. Building on the theme of mechanization in this pivotal cultural industry, the dissertation provides a new perspective on the history of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Shanghai as well as on its intellectual and cultural worlds. Through an assessment of the impact of the modern industrial world on the ancient Chinese world of texts and editorship, Shanghai appears as a site of cultural history, but with the emphasis on the entrepreneurial and vocational side of that history.
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