This is a marvelous, genre-transforming book that no China scholar will want to miss. Scholars of literature and of economics, including of the magic of money, are also inevitably going to get drawn in, because it shows connections that few of them probably knew before.

This is a unique, very learned, and fiercely ambitious book. Most concretely, it is about the genesis and rise of new forms of economic-literary imaginaries in early imperial China. Tamara Chin's genius is to refuse to assume separate genres of “literature” or “economics,” or historiography, or the like. Instead, she investigates the specific kinds of literary economics and poetics of exuberance that emerged in the new social landscape of imperial China's expanding commodification and market trade. This explosion of new genres was rather like the bursts of new forms of alien life seen in the novel environment of each new biological-evolutionary era—except these were not...

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