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Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics$
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Wm. Theodore de Bary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153973

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.001.0001

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Waiting for the Dawn

Waiting for the Dawn

Huang Zongxi’s Critique of the Chinese Dynastic System

(p.199) 15 Waiting for the Dawn
Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics

Wm. Theodore de Bary

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Waiting for the Dawn (Mingyi daifang lu), the first important work of Huang Zongxi (1610–1695). It suggests that Huang's work is the most eloquent and comprehensive statement of its kind in Chinese political literature. It draws together the ideas that others, in the past or present, had expressed in scattered or unsystematic form. While his discussion of certain problems is sometimes less exhaustive than the treatment of them by others, the balance that Huang achieves between general principles and their historical application adds considerably to the force of his presentation. It is for this reason that Waiting for the Dawn has proved the most enduring and influential Confucian critique of Chinese despotism in the late imperial age as well as the most powerful affirmation of a liberal Confucian political vision in premodern times.

Keywords:   Huang Zongxi, Waiting for the Dawn, Asian classics, classic texts, Chinese political literature, Chinese despotism, Confucianism, Mingyi daifang lu

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