Chinese Sympathies examines how Europeans-German-speaking writers and thinkers in particular-identified with Chinese intellectual and literary traditions following the circulation of Marco Polo's Travels. This sense of affinity expanded and deepened, Daniel Leonhard Purdy shows, as generations of Jesuit missionaries, baroque encyclopedists, Enlightenment moralists, and translators established intellectual regimes that framed China as being fundamentally similar to Europe. Analyzing key German literary texts-theological treatises, imperial histories, tragic dramas, moral philosophies, literary translations, and poetic cycles-Chinese Sympathies traces the paths from baroque-era missionary reports that accommodated Christianity with Confucianism to Goethe's concept of world literature, bridged by Enlightenment debates over cosmopolitanism and sympathy, culminating in a secular principle that allowed readers to identify meaningful similarities across culturally diverse literatures based on shared human experiences.Thanks to generous funding from Penn State University, the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access volumes from Cornell Open (cornellopen.org) and other repositories.
Introduction1. Marco Polo's Fabulous Imperial Connections2. Jesuit Channels between Europe and Asia3. A Genealogy of Compassionate Reading4. News of the Ming Dynasty's Collapse5. Vondel's Tragic Chinese Emperor6. Wieland's Secret History of Cosmopolitanism7. Adam Smith and the Chinese Earthquake8. Goethe Reads the Jesuits9. Chinese-German Pairings10. World Literature and Goethe's Chinese Poetry