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Herbert Allen Gilles - illustrious sinologist and British diplomat - has given a series of insightful lectures at Columbia University, talking about the importance of conducting further studies on China and various aspects of the Chinese language.
Largely the central theme points of the otherwise unrelated lectures, these are further developed by Gilles, who has reserved a large section on the writings of ancient China, and focuses heavily on the Chinese language of today, presenting major and minor writings, as well as their historical background.
Although written by an expert on Chinese culture and literature at the start of the 20th century, China and the Chinese is an extremely readable and well-documented work. It is presented in terms that the laymen may understand, and outlines the essential points of what Gilles was trying to convey: to bring a historically accurate and detailed depiction of the Chinese culture that allows us to dive deeper into the somewhat obscure understanding of the country's past and present development (at that time).
There is a total of six lectures included in the book, each with its own specific central theme. While the first one simply addresses the structure, form, content and phonetics of the Chinese language, Gilles moves further on to describe topics such as Taoism, China's governmental structure and even various customs, manners and traditions associated with the country.
The lectures are extremely thorough and well-referenced. You will find detailed contents and examples given to back up Gilles' various claims and a myriad of multi-layered connections made between the various aspects of China's culture.
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