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Features 29 heroic efforts and experiments will take years ofcareful study and is, admittedly, also not within the ability ofthis reader. Yet, as Ezra Pound said, "willingness to experiment is not enough, but unwillingness to experiment is mere death." Owen's great courage and willingness to break what he calls "the deadwood of habit" (ibid.) is absolutely praiseworthy. Needless to say, Professor Owen's Anthologyhas a great deal more feats and some other flaws—scholars and students who use this majestic book will find out for themselves. Meanwhile, it is only right to point out thatAnthology, largely based on his esteemed lecture notes at Harvard University, is a tour de force that will be appreciated and treasured in decades to come in the English-speaking world and yet perhaps even more in the country where these masterpieces originated. H. R. Lan Amherst College H. R. Lan is an assistantprofessor in the Department ofAsian Languages and Civilizations , and Director ofthe Chinese Program. Xiaobing Tang. Global Space and the Nationalist Discourse ofModernity: The Historical Thinking ofLiang Qichao. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. vii, 289 pp. Hardcover $39.50, isbn 0-8047-2583-7. Begun as a dissertation at Duke, that citadel ofpostmodern studies, and published while its author joined the swelling ranks ofpostmodern scholars at the University of Chicago, this reinterpretation of Liang Qichao attempts to rescue Liang's later years from the dustbin ofhistory. Xiaobing Tang employs the full panoply ofpostmodern thinking and style in this effort. He begins by joining previous scholars to praise Liang's early career as a popularizer ofWestern modern political thought, while singling out Liang's conceptions ofhistory and nationalism for special attention. Recasting the insights ofearlier scholars, especially Joseph Levenson, in a postmodern vocabulary, Xiaobing Tang argues that Liang Qichao resisted but then accepted the Western conception ofhistorical time as a global process that© 1997 by University wasbothled ^ uncjerstoodby the West. In this conception ofhistory, nonoj awai 1 ressWestern peoples, including the Chinese, layoutside progressive history. They could enter only by assuming a nationalist and liberal form in their culture and politics. Tang sees Liang Qichao at one time believing that liberalism could pro- 30 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 duce domestic political reform and cultural transformation in China, while nationalism could save the Chinese from imperialism and colonialism. Tang rightfully points out the major contradiction that comes with the acceptance of these twin Western notions ofprogressive time and nationalism: modernity becomes the true outcome ofhistory, yet, in practice, only nations become modern; thus nations contradict the universalism ofhistory through their existence in bounded territory and the particularities of their culture. In Tang's own words, "Nationalism, as a historicizing narrative of modernity, provided Liang with a useful ideology for change" (p. 33), but "Liang Qichao's legitimation ofmodernity in terms ofspatial experience, however, entails a totalizing vision that valorizes temporal homogeneity more than spatial differentiation. When nationalism was called upon as a political ideology for change and a means oflegitimizing modernity, it had to overcome its initial territorial imagination and accept a temporalization ofspace" (p. 45). "Yet the irony is that nationalism also led to a dialectical negation of this subordination [ofspace to time] and helped reassert space as a cognitive principle" (p. 232). These quotes show clearly Tang's fascination with rereading Liang Qichao through the lens ofpostmodern critical studies. Tang uses this postmodern style with skill, and quotes with good effect many ofits luminaries including David Harvey, Georg Lukacs, Partha Chatterjee, and Homi Bhabha, as well as his teacher, Fredric Jameson. His purpose is fully postmodern in that after establishing Liang Qichao's credentials as a modernizer, he goes on to argue that Liang in his later years became a subaltern critic ofthe Western, modern project. In most accounts ofLiang Qichao's later life—from the 1911 revolution when he was thirty-eight until his death in 1929—his career and his historical importance take a downward trajectory. Liang's defense ofconstitutional monarchy, his alignments with various Beijing warlord governments, and even his retreat into teaching are seen as reflecting, at best, his increasing irrelevancy to newer forces in China's intellectual life. At worst, Liang becomes an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 29-32
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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