China in Britain, and in the British imagination
in Britain in China
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This chapter examines what may have been encountered by those in Britain searching for information about China, or by those merely searching for relaxation. It looks at the fictional works of Sax Rohmer, Louise Jordan Miln and W. Somerset Maugham. Arthur H. Smith's object was to analyse defects in the Chinese that Protestantism would remedy. The discourse of Chinese characteristics offered a dismissive and distancing vocabulary for articulating experience. Rodney Gilbert set out to describe China's faults. Hailed after her death as Pearl Buck's 'nearest literary parallel', Miln specialised in tales of the wealthy and aristocratic in China. Wembley's Hong Kong street was also a deliberately pointed appeal to the popularity of Limehouse. The obvious contradiction was that it was on Chinese themselves that most Britons in most fields actually relied for information, in trade, or in evangelical mission work.

Britain in China

Community, culture and colonialism 1900-1949

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