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History in Three Keys the Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

by Paul A. Cohen

  • ISBN: 9780231106511
  • ISBN10: 0231106513

History in Three Keys the Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

by Paul A. Cohen

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780231106511
  • ISBN10: 0231106513
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Description: Historical reconstruction is in constant tension with two other more pervasive and influential ways of "knowing" the past - experience and myth. In this long-awaited book, Paul Cohen uses the Boxer uprising of 1898-1900 - a major antiforeign explosion and watershed event in Chinese history - as a vehicle for the skillful illumination of these tensions. History in Three Keys juxtaposes the accounts of historians with those of participants and witnesses and sets these perspectives against the range of popular myths that were fashioned about the Boxers. The first part of the book tells the story of the Boxer uprising as reconstructed by historians. Part Two explores the thought, feelings, and behavior of the direct participants in the Boxer experience, individuals who, without a preconceived idea of the entire event, understood what was happening to them in a manner fundamentally different from historians. Finally, in Part Three, Cohen examines the myths surrounding the uprising in twentieth-century China - and, to a lesser extent, the West - as symbolic representations designed less to elucidate the Boxer past than to draw energy from it in the present.
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