Henrietta Harrison, The Perils of Interpreting (2021)

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Henrietta Harrison, The Perils of Interpreting (2021)

Henrietta Harrison, The Perils of Interpreting (2021)

作者: Henrietta Harrison
出版社: Princeton University Press
副标题: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire
出版年: 2021-11
页数: 304
定价: $29.95 / £25.00
装帧: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780691225456

Main Contents:

The 1793 British embassy to China, which led to Lord George Macartney’s fraught encounter with the Qianlong emperor, has often been viewed as a clash of cultures fueled by the East’s disinterest in the West. In The Perils of Interpreting, Henrietta Harrison presents a more nuanced picture, ingeniously shifting the historical lens to focus on Macartney’s two interpreters at that meeting—Li Zibiao and George Thomas Staunton. Who were these two men? How did they intervene in the exchanges that they mediated? And what did these exchanges mean for them? From Galway to Chengde, and from political intrigues to personal encounters, Harrison reassesses a pivotal moment in British-China relations. She shows that there were Chinese who were familiar with the West, but growing tensions endangered those who embraced both cultures and would eventually culminate in the Opium Wars.

Harrison demonstrates that the Qing court’s ignorance about the British did not simply happen, but was manufactured through the repression of cultural go-betweens like Li and Staunton. She traces Li’s influence as Macartney’s interpreter, the pressures Li faced in China as a result, and his later years in hiding. Staunton interpreted successfully for the British East India Company in Canton, but as Chinese anger grew against British imperial expansion in South Asia, he was compelled to flee to England. Harrison contends that in silencing expert voices, the Qing court missed an opportunity to gain insights that might have prevented a losing conflict with Britain.

Uncovering the lives of two overlooked figures, The Perils of Interpreting offers a valuable argument for cross-cultural understanding in a better-connected world.

About the Author:

Henrietta Harrison is professor of modern Chinese studies at the University of Oxford and the Stanley Ho Tutorial Fellow in Chinese History at Pembroke College. Her books include The Man Awakened from Dreams and The Missionary’s Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village. She lives in Oxford, England.


Acknowledgments   ·    ix
Dramatis Personae   ·    xi
Introduction    1
CHAPTER 1         The Li Family of Liangzhou    17
CHAPTER 2         George Leonard Staunton of Galway    26
CHAPTER 3         Li Zibiao’s Education in Naples    37
CHAPTER 4         George Thomas Staunton’s Peculiar Childhood    50
CHAPTER 5         Finding an Interpreter for an Embassy to China    61
CHAPTER 6         Crossing the Oceans    72
CHAPTER 7         Other Possible Interpreters    85
CHAPTER 8         Li Zibiao as Interpreter and Mediator    100
CHAPTER 9         Speaking to the Emperor    114
CHAPTER 10       Becoming an Invisible Interpreter    129
CHAPTER 11       Li Zibiao after the Embassy    141
CHAPTER 12       George Thomas Staunton Becomes an Interpreter    155
CHAPTER 13       Sir George Staunton, Translator and Banker    168
CHAPTER 14       The British Occupation of Macao and Its Aftermath    182
CHAPTER 15       A Linguist and His Troubles    195
CHAPTER 16       The Amherst Embassy    207
PART IV           EXCLUSION    221
CHAPTER 17       Li Zibiao’s Last Years in Hiding    223
CHAPTER 18       Staunton in Parliament    233
CHAPTER 19       The Opium War    247
CHAPTER 20       Forgetting    259
Conclusion    270
Abbreviations   ·    275
Glossary   ·    277
Notes   ·    279
Selected Bibliography   ·    319
Illustration Credits   ·    331
Index   ·    333

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