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266 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995© 1995 by University ofHawai'i Press Paul U. Unschuld, translator and editor. Forgotten Traditions ofAncient Chinese Medicine: The I-hsüeh Yuan Liu Lun of1757 by Hsii Ta-Ch'tin. Brookline, Massachusetts: Paradigm Publications, 1993. xi, 403 pp. Hardcover $55.00. There are so few full translations into English ofthe major works ofChinese medicine that die appearance of almost any book would be cause for celebration. In the case ofthe translation of the Yixue Yuan Liu Lun that has now appeared, there is much to be grateful for. The Chinese text is provided togedier with a full translation, chapter by chapter, making comparisons easy and rewarding. All interpolations into the translated text are marked widi square brackets, a method which allows alternative phrasing to be entertained even by those who don't read Chinese. And a fascinating biography of the author, written by a contemporary, is appended. Paul Unschuld's introduction to the translation provides additional historical background on die author, along with a brief discussion of some of the themes in the work. These themes are idiosyncratically selected and not always clearly discussed ; despite Unschuld's emphasis on a "philological" method, diere is little discussion ofparticular terms in relation to the history of Chinese medical language . Other modes ofcontextualization are absent as well. Historians of the Chinese sciences will particularly note that theoretical issues that were controversial at the time, now considered to be typical ofwhole schools of thought in the eighteenth century, are seldom noted by the editor, and when diey are, they are attributed to die individual creative genius ofXu Daqun. Xu is depicted, however, as a stalwart ofthe broader Han Learning movement. The introduction isolates some ofhis interesting remarks about the authority of the medical classics and the regrettable modern incomprehension of their true import. Oddly enough, Unschuld tends to use diese quotes as evidence for Xu's commitment to an "empirical" approach, despite a lack of support for this notion in the text itself. Terms like "disease" and "nature" that are really appropriate only to the "Western" sciences appear (wrongly) to be used by Xu Daqun—this despite die lengthy discussions odier scholars have devoted to rendering such terms both problematic and (once redefined) useful in China studies. The translations, fortunately, are more reliable than the introduction. Unschuld's mediod involves the extensive interpolation ofwords, especially of nomináis, to yield a smooth and well-reasoned writing style. With so many concrete nouns added, Xu is made to appear rather more ofan anatomist, and the body that he considers to be rather more reified and structural, than a more literal translation ofthe Chinese text would allow. But perhaps this is not too high a Reviews 267© 1995 by University ofHawai'i Press price to pay for an accessible and lively prose work in English. Clearly we have come a long way from the muddled and mystical translations ofmedical works that appeared when interest in Chinese medicine was just beginning to revive in the United States and Europe. For readers who are prepared to attend closely to Xu Daqun's essays on illness etiology, principles and methods oftreatment, medical scholarship, and die social relations ofhealing in eighteenth-century China, this book will prove very rewarding. It will be most effectively put to use, however, ifsupplemented witii other works on the medical and social history ofthe period. Judith Farquhar University ofNorth Carolina, Chapel Hill UG Donald B. Wagner. Iron and Steel in Ancient China. Leiden, New York, and London: E. J. Brill, 1992. xi, 573 pp. Hardcover $157.25. This is a study ofdie production and use ofiron and steel in China from the earliest times to about the beginning of the Han period (the end ofthe third century b.c.). But it is also more: it is an investigation of one of a series oftechnological choices which treats that choice on an equal basis with all the other factors of history by investigating its consequences on the basis of exact technological knowledge . This study thus uses both written texts and archaeological material and confronts directly the methodological problems involved in developing a synthesis from these disparate...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 266-267
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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