Confusions of pleasure

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Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. The rise of commerce during the Ming Dynasty brought with it the rise of private wealth and the status of merchants. This was quite alarming to many; Confucius had taught that the four

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The Ming dynasty was the last great Chinese dynasty before the Manchu conquest in During that time, China, not Europe, was the center of the world: the European voyages of exploration were searching not just for new lands but also for new trade routes to the Far East. In this book, Timothy Brook eloquently narrates the changing landscape of life over the three centuries of the Mingwhen China was transformed from a closely administered agrarian realm into a place of commercial profits and intense competition for status.

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The founder of the Ming dynasty, the Hongwu emperor, came from a peasant background and idealised autonomous, self-sufficient agrarian communities; the dynasty he founded, however, was to oversee the economic transformation of China. Timothy Brook's study of this in The Confusions of Pleasure is more a cultural than an economic history, focusing on changing attitudes to trade and commerce and their effects on everyday life. It is an engaging exploration of the nooks and crannies of Ming society. Brook takes his framework from Zhang Tao, a minor official and moralist who wrote around

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Before the appearance of this work the only available account of the era was that found in the massive, multiauthored volumes 7 and 8 of the Cambridge History ofChina, one chronological and one topical As Brook relates in his preface, it was authorship ofa chapter on communications and commerce for the Cambridge History that inspired him to write The Confusions ofPleasure. He also notes that his perspective on the commercialization of China in the late Ming has been colored by witnessing contemporary China's sudden transition from the ideological obsessions of the Cultural Revolution to the harsh expediencies ofthe world market.

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National Library of Australia. Brook, Timothy. The confusions of pleasure : commerce and culture in Ming China.

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The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China is an influential [1] and frequently cited [2] book which explores the economic and cultural history and the "influence of economic change on social and cultural life" [3] in China during the Ming dynasty — The book is organized chronologically, with four sections named after seasons: Winter —Spring —Summer — and Fall — Writing for Economic History Services, Richard Lufrano of the College of Staten IslandCity University of New York CUNYstates that the book "provides an eloquently written and comprehensive account of commerce and communication in Ming China especially valuable for scholars working on related questions in other geographical areas. For the specialist, as well as others, the book makes a fundamental contribution by offering a more balanced view of how money and the market economy affected social hierarchyelite status, and social mobility.

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By Timothy Brook. Berkeley, University of California Press, pp. It appears that he would have preferred to write economic history, but he found the sources for that approach unsatisfactory and [End Page ] the secondary studies still too undeveloped to attempt the task.

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