Directions for accessing and searching the electronic Siku Quanshu, an 18th-century imperial project to evaluate, edit, and reproduce the finest Chinese writings in the four traditional categories: Confucian classics, histories, philosophy, and literature
Discussion of the first electronic version of the Siku Quanshu, released in 1998 as 183 CD-ROMs.
About Siku Quanshu
The Siku Quanshu, sometimes translated as the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, was one of the most ambitious intellectual projects of the Qing dynasty. Initiated by imperial command in 1772, the project sought to evaluate, edit, and reproduce the finest Chinese writings in the four traditional categories: Confucian classics, histories, philosophy, and literature. The final products, created over a twenty-two year period, were an annotated catalog of some ten thousand titles and seven new manuscript libraries of nearly thirty-six hundred titles.
The compilation of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Ssu-k'u ch'uan-shu) was one of the most ambitious intellectual projects of the Ch'ing dynasty. The project had its darker side as well, for together with the evaluation of books there developed a campaign of censorship and proscription. Guy's study gives a balanced account of the project and its significance. Dozens of celebrated Chinese scholars willingly participated in the project, though it was sponsored by the Manchu emperor, and Guy explains their reasons for doing so. He also reconsiders the issue of censorship, arguing that it grew as much from tensions and jealousies within the intellectual elite as from imperial command. Guy's work will be useful to all those interested in the relationship between intellectuals and the state in late imperial China.
Despite the importance of books and the written word in Chinese society, the history of the book in China is a topic that has been little explored. This pioneering volume of essays, written by historians, art historians, and literary scholars, introduces the major issues in the social and cultural history of the book in late imperial China. Informed by many insights from the rich literature on the history of the Western book, these essays investigate the relationship between the manuscript and print culture; the emergence of urban and rural publishing centers; the expanding audience for books; the development of niche markets and specialized publishing of fiction, drama, non-Han texts, and genealogies; and more.