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A Monster Book

A Monster Book image
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The Chinese department of the British museum library contains, says a writer ii Cassell's "World of Wonders, " a single vork which occupies no fewer than 5,020 volumes. This wonderful production of the Chinese press was purchased a few years ago f or $6,000 and is one of ouly a very srnall number of copies uow iu exisfeuce. It is an encyclcpedia of the literatura of Chira, co-ver ing a period of 28 centurias - froiü 1000 B. C. to 1700 A. D. It owes its origiu (o the literary proclivities of the Emperor Kang-he, wbo reigned f rom 1C62 to 1722. In the courseof bis studies of the ancient literature of bis country Kang-he discoyered that extensiva corruptions had been allowed to creep int o modern editions, and be conceived the idea of baving the test of the origináis reproduced and preserved in an authoritative forru. This was a mighty conception truly, and in its execution it remains unique down to .the present time. For the purpose of carryingout the work, Kang-be appointed a coinniissicn of learned men to 1 lect the writings to be reproduced and i employed the Jesuit missionaries to cast I copper types witb which to execute the printing. The ccmmission was ocoupied for 40 years in its great task. Before the work was coinpleted Kang-he died, but he had providcd that bis successor should see the book completed, and be faithf ully carried out bis trust. The book is arranged in sis divisions, each deal ing with a particular branch of knowledge. The divisions are thusdesignated : First, writings relating to the heavens ; seccnd, writings relating to the earth ; third, writings relating to mankind; fourth, writings relating to inarnmate nature; fif tb, writings relating to philosopby ; sixth, writiugs relating to political economy.


Ann Arbor Argus
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