History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

Paperback | March 11, 1998

byPaul A Cohen

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A comprehensive look at the Boxer Rebellion of 1898-1900, a bloody uprising in north China against native Christians and foreign missionaries.

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From Our Editors

Historical reconstruction is in constant tension with two other more pervasive and influential ways of "knowing" the past - experience and myth. In this long-awaited book, Paul Cohen uses the Boxer uprising of 1898-1900 - a major antiforeign explosion and watershed event in Chinese history - as a vehicle for the skillful illumination o...

From the Publisher

A comprehensive look at the Boxer Rebellion of 1898-1900, a bloody uprising in north China against native Christians and foreign missionaries.

From the Jacket

Historical reconstruction is in constant tension with two other more pervasive and influential ways of "knowing" the past - experience and myth. In this long-awaited book, Paul Cohen uses the Boxer uprising of 1898-1900 - a major antiforeign explosion and watershed event in Chinese history - as a vehicle for the skillful illumination o...

Paul A. Cohen is Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies and History at Wellesley College and an associate at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University. His publications include the award-winning Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past (Columbia).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:428 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 11, 1998Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231106513

ISBN - 13:9780231106511

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsPart I. The Boxers as EventPrologue: The Historically Reconstructed Past1. The Boxer Uprising: A Narrative HistoryPart 2: The Boxers as ExperiencePrologue: The Experience Past2. Drought and the Foreign Presence3. Mass Spirit Possession 4. Magic and Female Pollution 5. Rumor and Rumor Panic6. DeathPart 3: The Boxers as MythPrologue: The Mythologized Past7. The New Culture Movement and the Boxers8. Anti-Imperialism and the Recasting of the Boxer Myth9. The Cultural Revolution and the BoxersConclusionAbbreciationsNotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex

From Our Editors

Historical reconstruction is in constant tension with two other more pervasive and influential ways of "knowing" the past - experience and myth. In this long-awaited book, Paul Cohen uses the Boxer uprising of 1898-1900 - a major antiforeign explosion and watershed event in Chinese history - as a vehicle for the skillful illumination of these tensions. History in Three Keys juxtaposes the accounts of historians with those of participants and witnesses and sets these perspectives against the range of popular myths that were fashioned about the Boxers. The first part of the book tells the story of the Boxer uprising as reconstructed by historians. Part Two explores the thought, feelings, and behavior of the direct participants in the Boxer experience, individuals who, without a preconceived idea of the entire event, understood what was happening to them in a manner fundamentally different from historians. Finally, in Part Three, Cohen examines the myths surrounding the uprising in twentieth-century China - and, to a lesser extent, the West - as symbolic representati

Editorial Reviews

The most adventurous writing on modern Chinese history currently available.



Cohen pares the overlays of historical accounts of the Boxers down to their constituent parts as myth and lived experience. The book is eminently readable, ideally suited both to the general reader and to the college teacher seeking to deepen students'understanding of the currents in modern Chinese history.