Further Reading

The following is a select and annotated list of works readers may wish to consult. Intended for general readers, this list includes only reasonably accessible English-language publications related to the topics discussed in each chapter.

Chapter 1

The first book written about the Wall was William Geil’s 1909 vol­ume, The Great Wall of China (New York: Sturgis and Walton Company, 1909). An amateur adventurer, Geil spent four months in 1908 trekking the entire length of the Wall. When he returned to the United States he published a richly illustrated 400-page mono­graph, which he said would be “so complete that the future histo­rian of the Wall would find little to write about unless he pirated our notes.”

Needless to say, “future historians” have hardly found them­selves at a loss when it comes to writing about the Wall. One of the most influential modern books on the topic, for instance, is Arthur Waldron’s The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth (Cam­bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), which argues that the popular notion of a unitary and historically continuous Great Wall is actually a modern myth. Waldron’s thesis has been quite influen­tial in Western writings about the Wall. Julia Lovell, for instance, in her recent book, The Great Wall: China against the World 1000 bc-ad 2000 (New York: Grove Press, 2006), echoes Waldron in her opening claim that “the first great myth of the Great Wall is its singularity” and then proceeds to use the Wall as a lens through which to survey a 3,000-year history of “China against the world.” The British photographer and distance runner William Lindesay has also published several books on the Wall, ranging from Alone on the Great Wall from the Desert to the Sea (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1989), describing his initial trek along the Wall, to his grandiosely titled The Great Wall: China’s Historical Won­der and Mankind’s Most Formidable Construction Project (New York: Norton, 2002). More recently he has published a volume of photographs entitled The Great Wall Revisited: From Jade Gate to Old Dragon’s Head (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008), in which Lindesay strategically juxtaposes a series of late — nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs with recent “rephotographs” that he himself took of the same sites.

Chapter 2

The locus classicus of discussions of the Qin dynasty Wall is Sima Qian’s historical Han dynasty text, the Shiji. There are several translations of this text, including Burton Watson’s Records of the Grand Historian, in three volumes (New York: Columbia Univer­sity Press, 1993). A detailed discussion of this period can be found in the first volume of the Cambridge History of China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), and volume three of Joseph Needham’s monumental Science and Civilisation in China (Cam­bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959) contains a well- documented survey of technologies of wall building in China, in­cluding those that were employed in constructing the original Qin Wall.

Chapter 3

A comprehensive overview of pre-Qin China can be found in The Cambridge History of Ancient China (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni­versity Press, 1999), added as a prequel to the Cambridge History of China (which was conceived and begun before the recent ex­plosion of archaeological discoveries transformed our understand­ing of the early pre-Qin period). In Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History (Cam­bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Nicola di Cosmo pres­ents a good examination of China’s relationship with the various pastoral-nomadic groups along its periphery. Translations of sev­eral different versions of the Lady Meng Jiang legend can be found in Wilt Idema’s Meng Jiangnti Brings Down the Great Wall: Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008), and a useful overview of the Wang Zhaojun legend can be found in Uradyn Bulaq, The Mongols at China’s Edge: His­tory and the Politics of National Identity (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002).

Chapter 4

A detailed discussion of the military campaign out of which the Ming dynasty Wall emerged may be found in Frederick W. Mote, “The T’u Mu Incident of 1449,” in Chinese Ways of Warfare, ed. Frank Kierman, Jr., and John K. Fairbank (Cambridge, Mass.: Har­vard University Press, 1974). Numerous editions of Marco Polo’s Travels are available, but one of the most useful is the two-volume The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition (New York: Dover Publications, 1993). Critical treatment of Polo’s text and his voyage can be found in John Larner, Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), and an influential (and problematic) interrogation of the authenticity of Polo’s narrative can be found in Frances Wood, Did Marco Polo Go to China? (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996).

Chapter 5

A readable overview of the social and political developments of modern China can be found in Jonathan Spence’s In Search of Modern China (New York: Norton, 1999). A more specific analy­sis of the discourses of conservatism and reform during the early twentieth-century period is offered in Yu-sheng Lin’s classic study, Crisis of Chinese Consciousness (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978) and, more recently, in David Apter and Tony Saich’s Revolutionary Discourse in Mao’s Republic (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Chapter 6

Two major exhibits on the Wall in 1996 yielded useful companion volumes about the Wall and the cultural production it has inspired. Claire Roberts and Geremie Barme’s edited volume The Great Wall of China (Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing, 2006) was prepared for a Wall exhibit organized jointly by museums in Sydney and Beijing, and Gao Minglu’s The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art (Buffalo: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 2006) was prepared as the catalogue for a similar exhibit by organizations in Buffalo, New York, and Beijing. While the latter volume is somewhat difficult to obtain, a version of Gao’s useful introduction was published sepa­rately under the title, “The Great Wall in Chinese Contemporary Art” in the journal positions: east asian cultures critique (Winter 2004). University of Chicago-based art historian and curator Wu Hung has also written several books on China’s contemporary art scene that feature useful discussions of many of the artists dis­cussed in this volume, including Exhibiting Experimental Art in China (Chicago: David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, 2000) and Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twen­tieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

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