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572 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 torians of the Republican era, he was able to maintain an objective detachment that provides a model for us all. He took note ofboth the positive and the less admirable aspects of the lives of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and thus he should not be dismissed as an apologist. Despite pressures within American academic circles in the 1960s and 1970s to join the parade of converts to Mao's cause, Wilbur did not do so; those who did join later had to admit to their naïveté. Emerging from this memoir are Wilbur's quietiy independent ideals and personal ethics, the strong center to which he remained true. Donald A. Jordan Ohio University, Athens Donald A. Jordan is a professor ofEast Asian history, specializing in Sino-Japanese relations in the 1930s. Douglas Wile. Lost T'ai-chi Classics ofthe Late Ch'ing Dynasty. Albany: State University ofNew York Press, 1996. xvii, 233 pp. Hardcover $49.50, isbn 0-7914-2653-x. Paperback $16.95, isbn 0-7914-2654-8. As the first book of its kind in English to venture beyond the pioneering works of Robert W. Smith, Douglas Wile's Lost T'ai-chi Classics opens the door to serious scholarly research in Chinese martial-arts history outside China. This contribution is long overdue in view of the pervasive role the martial arts have played in Chinese popular culture over the centuries and the almost universal misunderstanding of this role among Chinese and non-Chinese alike. Lost T'ai-chi Classics is a first step toward dispelling this misunderstanding, but it is not easy reading. It primarily reflects Wile's strengths in translation and in an involved textual analysis ; it is a rigorous application of analytical methodology on the one hand combined with the haste to publish on the other. So, while Lost T'ai-chi Classics represents a breakthrough of sorts by establishing a file on martial arts history in the sinological directory, it gives one the sense that, beyond the translations, the author is trying to do too much but is accomplishing too little—causing the reader to lose track of the forest for the trees. In some key areas, especially in its backy niversi y ground coverage, the book is more notable for what it omits than what it covers, not only because the subject is so specialized with almost no serious scholarly material available on it in Western languages, but also because, in his apparent haste to publish, Wile has left the textual "battlefield" strewn with a number ofirksome ofHawai'i Press Reviews 573 editorial "wounded and missing." Thus, as a reviewer, I feel obligated not merely to comment on the book's immediate content, but also to provide a broader perspective that will allow the reader to cope with the subject better. The author's introduction reflects the "internal-soft" versus "external-hard" intellectual straitjacket that has bound the Chinese view of their martial arts ever since the appearance ofHuang Zongxi's Epitaphfor WangZhengnan in 1669. Wile freely admits that the Internal School forms mentioned by Huang's son, Baijia, in his Methods ofthe Internal School ofPugilism (ca. 1676) and those illustrated in Chang Naizhou's late eighteenth-century manual appear different from taijiquan forms, but that the theory described in these works is similar to that of taijiquan (p. xvi). He also admits that Wu Chengqing's writings on taijiquan, which are among his translations, contain ideas "strongly resonant" with some found in the Classic ofSwordsmanship (actually a treatise on staff fighting) (p. 41), but this is one ofWile's major editorial "casualties" because he fails to explain who the author ofthis important piece is (the Ming general, Yu Dayou, 1503-1580) and when it was published (ca. 1561 as a chapter in General Qi Jiguang's New Book ofEffective Discipline). Thus, by omission, Wile belies the fact that Yu described a strategy based on "stillness overcoming movement" over one hundred years prior to Huang Zongxi's Epitaph and witiiout the extra baggage ofthe legendary Taoist hermit Zhang Sanfeng, who is perceived by many to be the originator of taijiquan...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 572-577
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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