Denis Twitchett and the Cambridge Histories

Denis Twitchett, author of the groundbreaking Financial Administration Under the T’ang Dynasty and a strong guiding force behind the Cambridge History series for China and Japan, has passed away. [via]

The Cambridge History series has sometimes struck me as an odd duck sort of publication — I think I’m channeling one of Berry’s reviews here — a mix of “state of the art” and “timeless reference” which never quite succeeded at either. But they remain very powerful tools for students, especially graduate students, in getting a baseline on a period or a topic. They remain particularly useful, I think, as syntheses of material and findings that is otherwise only found in monographs, because most of it hasn’t been integrated into most textbooks on Asia.

I’ve never had very good luck assigning the chapters — the Japan histories, anyway — to undergraduate classes, but they have been good for students doing research.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.