Архивы рубрики ‘THE GREAT WALL’

Another Brick in the Wall

I always feel we are encircled by a Long Wall. This Long Wall is made from old ones and has been repaired and extended with new bricks. Together, these two processes have yielded the pres­ent wall, which now encircles us all. —Lu Xun, “The Long Wall” (1925) In 1920, the poet, writer, and political reformer […]

A Very Queer Thing

If there is anything which modern China can safely be assumed to regard with respect and devotion it is that famous wall, so an­cient, so useless, so queer, and so inconvenient. —New York Times, June 28, 1899 The Wall, as Marx might have said, is a very queer thing. At first sight it appears easily […]

Return to Origins

When he thought of there being so many hymens throughout the country, lined up like a Great Wall of troops waiting for him, Baldy Li couldn’t help excitedly scratching his thighs with both hands. —Yu Hua, Brothers (2006) A song by the military composer Meng Qingyun poses what a re­cent People’s Daily article describes as […]

Getting There

The vast majority of the extant Wall was built during the Ming dy­nasty, and many of the popular tourist sites have been extensively repaired during the past half century. These sites stretch from the Gulf of Bohai to the Ordos Desert, with the most popular ones clus­tered around Beijing. Below are brief introductions to the […]

Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai

East of Mutianyu are the Gubeikou Pass and the adjoining Jin­shanling and Simatai sections of the structure. Located about 130 kilometers from Beijing and accessible by train, tour bus, or taxi, Gubeikou is the site of a critical pass through the Yanshan Moun­tains. To the east of the pass is the 10-kilometer-long Jinshanling section of […]

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 […]

Aspirations of Immortality

From this day forward, the practice of assigning posthumous names will be abolished. We shall be called the First Emperor, with successive generations of rulers being numbered Second, Third, and so forth for ten thousand generations, and in this way the succession will be passed down interminably. —The First Emperor, attributed by Sima Qian, Records […]

Between History and Legend

There was a beginning. There was an anteriority before the be­ginning. There was an anteriority before the anteriority that was before the beginning. —Zhuangzi (third-fourth century BCE) At one point in Records of the Historian, Sima Qian recounts, in his typically dry and concise manner, an extraordinary tale of illicit ro­mance, miscegenation, betrayal, and murder. […]

A Garden of Forking Paths

In all fictional works, each time a man encounters different al­ternatives, he chooses one and rejects the others; but in the case of the almost-undecipherable Ts’ui Pen, he chooses—simulta­neously—all of them. In this way, he creates different futures and different temporalities that also, in turn, bifurcate and multiply in their own right. It is in […]


Obama at Badaling Obama at Badaling, with “One World One Dream” sign in back­ground Times Square billboard showing Obama at Badaling Project to Extend the Great Wall of China by 10,000 Meters: Proj­ect for Extraterrestrials No. 10, Cai Guo-Qiang (1993) “The Great Wall of China,” Robert Ripley, Believe It or Not! (1932) Chinae, olim sinarum […]