AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Goldsmith's Chinese letters through Chinese eyes

by Woo-Lih Dunn Lo

Institution: Boston University
Year: 1950
Record ID: 1500844
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/4771


The pseudo-letter genre in European literature, originated with Giovanni Paolo Marana, an Italian author of the late seventeenth century, has become in the next century, in both France and England, a popular literary method of social satire. Particularly in the hands of sifted prose masters such as Baron Montesquieu in France and Oliver Goldsmith in England, this type of writing receives a new polish and elegance as well as the widest renown. Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, translated by John Davidson, remains a classic in French literature, and Goldsmith's Chinese Letters (1760-1761), published under the title of The Citizen of the World, is still read and enjoyed by us in all the anthologies of English prose. The purpose of my thesis is twofold: to study the author's satiric method as found in the Chinese Letters and to examine rather closely the contents of Goldsmith's essays in the light of my own knowledge of Chinese history and tradition.