Chen Jiru (1558-1639) (Sinica Leidensia) by Greenbaum, M.D.

By Greenbaum, M.D.

Focussing on Chen Jiru's writings, this learn explores many of the ways in which Chen marketed himself to potential readers, and how that advertisement and political pursuits used his personae for his or her personal ends, from the 17th century to the current.

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Rojek does note the apparent exceptions to the rule in the celebrity of Dante, Michelangelo, and others, but maintains that they were “ . . ” (p. 28). xxx introduction These studies suggest that economic, social, and cultural conditions had to be met before celebrity could arise distinct from fame and renown. It is the contention of this study that Chen’s celebrity represents such a break from the past, and should be viewed as the emergence of true celebrity in China. In early-seventeenth century Jiangnan, the period of Chen’s rise to renown and celebrity, the conditions that Lodge ascribes to the era of Dickens were already present.

Quoted in T. Brook, The Confusions of Pleasure—Commerce and Culture in Ming China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), p. 145. Brook goes on to paraphrase He Liangjun, noting that in that period 60 percent to 70 percent of the local farmers abandoned the land for other activities. 2 This is a common device in biographies or other works where the exceptional quality of the subject is portrayed through their relationship with someone else. This is a biographical technique well utilised by Chen himself, often when there does not appear to be much information on the subject.

5 2 Even if it began as literary it was not conÀned to that world. Lord Byron, of course, came to public attention through his writing, but his celebrity quickly eclipsed its literary foundations with: “. . the phenomenon of ‘Byromania’, the term Àrst used in 1812 . . , Byromania: Portraits of the Artist in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Culture (London: Macmillan, 1999), p. 3. 3 Leon Plantinga, “Napoleon of the Piano” The Times Literary Supplement October 14, 2005, p. 3. 4 Nicholas Dames, “Brushes with Fame: Thackeray and the Work of Celebrity” Nineteenth-Century Literature, 56:1, p.

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