Ray Huang’s 1587

Ray Huang’s 1587 - Greg Reynolds History 6B...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Greg Reynolds History 6B: Prof. Di Wang 18 February 2009 Structural Integrity Questionable According to Fairbank and Goldman the Ming dynasty fell after Wu Sangui helped the Manchu take over the Ming but Ray Huang argues that the seeds of destruction were sown in a much more mundane manner. 1 Ray Huang’s 1587, A Year of No Significance creates an argument which attempts to show the central bureaucracy at fault for Ming decline. Huang uses the specifics of six historical figures’ live to form this version of the Ming dynasty’s end. To aid this line of reasoning the author employs a narrative voice, uses a unique character study form of organization and creates several archetypes of bureaucratic officials. Each of these devices has elements that help or hurt 1587 ’s line of reasoning. Huang successfully reveals the bureaucracy’s role in the Ming decline but becomes bogged down by the weight of his assumption that the figures can be synthesized into a complete picture. The author ultimately fails to make a convincing argument that the highly centralized view fits best. Huang sets the fate of Ming decline around a narrative voice that pulls the reader into 1587 . Frequent interpretation of the subjects’ motivations and long sequences of linear story make many parts of 1587 into anecdotes more than evidence. The data cited does not dominate as the evidence often takes the backseat to the narrative. The sources are usually used to back up far reaching phrases, “she was unable to reach an ultimate understanding with him . 15 2 In this passage the author must cite a source in order to back up a claim that would otherwise be written off as pure speculation. Huang walks a thin line 1 John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman, China: A New Hitory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992) 144-145 2 Ray Huang, 1587, A Year of No Significance (London: Yale University Press, 1981), 192. 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
between creating a history and a historical novel by using this narrative voice. The lighter voice takes turns between assisting and foiling the book’s argument. Huang’s narration assists his argument by drawing the reader into the work. 1587 succeeds in making the reader want to agree with Huang’s central thesis as each historical figure parades out of the pages as a fully formed and well-crafted character like the minor figure general Tu Sung who “was…brutish and unschooled…(and) would not hesitate to
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/07/2009 for the course HISTORY 6b taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Berkeley.

Page1 / 5

Ray Huang’s 1587 - Greg Reynolds History 6B...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online