In a recent essay on “Some Mid-Ch'ing Views of the Monarchy,” Harold Kahn announced that he was moving past “the one-dimensional, simple cliché” and “the two-dimensional, complex stereotype” to add a third dimension so that he could show Ch'ien-lung as “a composite figure made up of several images.” Talk of three dimensions immediately prompts any healthy layman to try to add a fourth: to the three spatial dimensions which are historiographical, perhaps we can add a fourth dimension of time which is more positively historical.

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