Medicine in the Early 18th Century

From Jennifer Lee Carrell’s The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox, a brief account of how, in the early Georgian era, … medicine was unabashedly aggressive; in an attempt to be heroic, it was more often horrific. A very few practical men had begun systematically observing their patients and describing symptoms that clustered into specific […]

On Reviewing Books

My buddy Joe recently asked me about my process for reviewing books, how I approach it and go about doing it. (I have done reviews for a few magazines and newspapers, but these days I mostly review for Kyoto Journal.) I figured I might as well talk about it here, since it may interest others. I suppose […]

Readings, January-March 2015

A slow couple of months, really: the job-hunting and housing situation–staying in a small sublet apartment with no place to sit comfortably and read, and only noisy places outside–combined with moving to another city and adjusting to my new workplace, along with all kinds of other things that recently came up, all conspired to make it hard […]

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 […]