A Man of the Chinese World

- From Henry James' novel, The Europeans.

1000 Cartloads of Silk

- An excerpt from one edition of The Travels of Marco Polo, as translated by Sir Henry Yule. Marco Polo, if he visited China at all (which is now considered unlikely), would have been in the city-that-would-become Beijing in around the year 1300.

A Marvelous City - 1

- Intrepid adventuress Isabella Burd visited Canton in early 1879. Here is her description of the city. In two parts.

A Marvelous City - 2

- Intrepid adventuress Isabella Burd visited Canton in early 1879. Here is part two of her description of the city.

Aground in the Yangtze

- Elgin's private secretary Laurence Oliphant, 1858

A Shanghai before Shanghai

- Isabella Bird - 1897

A Lack of Fanciful Ideas

- Lowell - The Soul of the Far East

Human Manure

- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The Power of Change

- de Tocqueville - Democracy in America

Important Station

- An excerpt from Three Years' Wanderings in the Northern Provinces of China, by ROBERT FORTUNE, British botanist, who visited Shanghai a few days after the city was declared open to foreign trade on November 17, 1843)

Blood on the silk

- A excerpt from H.G. Wells' book "The New Machiavelli", in which his characters discuss the Boxer Rebellion from a perspective less sympathetic to the foreigners trapped in the siege, in terms of the aftermath at least ...

They have Pottery

- A discussion between Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, related in The Life of Samuel Johnson, (chapter 47) published in 1798.

Lurid City

- An excerpt from J.G. Ballard's novel, Empire of the Sun, describing Shanghai in 1937

Self-Complacent Celestials

- An excerpt from Isabella Bird's 1878 travelogue "Unbeaten Tracks in Japan", describing the Chinese merchants of Yokohama, surely an accurate description of overseas Chinese traders in all East Asian ports in that era.


- An excerpt from "Typhoon", a novel by Joseph Conrad, describing the Chinese passengers on a ship returning to Foochow from a Southeast Asian port.

Passengers, what passengers?

- An excerpt from Typhoon, a novel by Joseph Conrad, describing a conversation between the chief mate and Captain MacWirr as the storm approaches ...

Old Men in Yellow

- An excerpt from Jules Verne's Around the world in 80 Days -- which finds our heroes are in Hong Kong.

A Trade They Cannot Prevent

- Viscount Palmerston's instructions to Sir Henry Pottinger with regard to opium, on his departure for China on 31st May 1841.

The Siren Note

- An atmospheric excerpt from Andre Malraux's "Man's Estate", set in Shanghai in 1926.

Miserable Drug & Friendly Glass

- An excerpt from Jules Verne's "Around the world in 80 Days" in which views on opium and alcohol are juxtaposed during the visit to Hong Kong.

The Wall of China

- Boswell - Life of Johnson
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