Friday, October 27, 2006

the dragon and the eagle

That's the title of a book just received, of interest perhaps to Mason & Dixon readers, although China is likely to have some place in Against the Day. The author, A.Owen Aldridge, argues that, contrary to previous assumptions that "the image of China did not penetrate North America until after the inauguration of the trade between Canton and the East Coast shortly after the War for Independence came to an end....a lively curiosity about non-Western culture existed in America before the middle of the eighteenth century and that a good deal of accurate information about it was available during the American Revolution aklong with an almost equal amount of myth and legend....The following pages will reveal some extraordinary instances of this relationship: Franklin at the age of thirty-two publishing in his Philadelphia newspaper an analysis of the thought of Confucious, brother-in-law Thomas Paine comparing Confucious and Christ as great moral teachers...."

The Dragon and the Eagle: The Presence of China in the American Enlightenment
by A. Owen Aldridge. Wayne State University Press. Detroit, Michigan. 1993.