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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 3: 1400-1800$
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José Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199219179.001.0001

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Private Historiography in Late Imperial China

Private Historiography in Late Imperial China

(p.60) Chapter 3 Private Historiography in Late Imperial China
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

On-cho Ng

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines a host of significant authors and their works to shed light on the heretofore under-studied private historiography of late imperial China. It shows that while the Ming and Qing worlds of private historiography might not have produced major comprehensive historical works, there was no dearth of diversity, creativity, and innovation. The Ming scholars, highly critical of a degenerate official historiography, sought improvement by pursuing private projects. In the Qing, many historians were guided by a discriminating sense of anachronism, as the kaozheng methods pushed them into rigorous interrogations of the past.

Keywords:   Chinese historical writing, Ming dynasty, official history writing, unofficial historiography

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