My 2015 Readings

Well, it’s 2016. I hope I read more this year than I did last. This list is a little incomplete: there’s some more game stuff I read, some of it in part and some in full. But it’s close enough to a list of all the books I finished, so I’ll go with this. My […]

The Cosplayers of the Late Ming Dynasty

Wait… cosplay? In the late Ming Dynasty? Apparently, yes. And I don’t just mean dressing up in costumes, which is a universal and ancient activity. I mean cosplay. What’s the difference? I’ll let Jonathan Spence lay out the dots, before I connect them. Here’s a passage from Return to Dragon Mountain: After his dismissal by the prince of Lu, […]

Zhang Dai on Civil Service Exams (And South Korea Today)

As I continue reading the book I mentioned the other day, Jonathan Spence’s Return to Dragon Mountain, I keep running across little passages that scream out to be shared, along with a little commentary. Here’s one, comprising the observations of Zhang Dai and his contemporary Ai regarding the horrors of the Imperial examination system, the civil service exams […]