- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Quercus (8 Jan. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847243444
- ISBN-13: 978-1847243447
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 x 2.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,299,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci Paperback – 8 Jan 2008
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An extraordinarily delicate achievement - The New York Times Book Review
From the Back Cover
“An extraordinary tour de force, a work of literature and at the same time a remarkable wide-ranging use of historical sources” John King Fairbank, Harvard University In 1577 an Italian Jesuit priest named Matteo Ricci set out from Italy on a long journey to bring the Christian faith to Ming dynasty China. Travelling widely, Ricci learned local languages, mastered Chinese script, and acquired a rich appreciation of the indigenous culture of his hosts. In 1596 he wrote a short book on the art of memory for the governor of Jiangxi province, who was preparing his sons for China's demanding civil service examinations. Ricci's Treatise on Mnemonic Arts, with its striking metaphor of a “memory palace” for the storing of knowledge, was widely circulated among members of the Ming dynasty elite. To capture the complex emotional and religious drama of Ricci's life, Jonathan Spence relates the missionary's experiences via a series of images. Four of these images derive from events described in the Bible, the others from his Treatise on Mnemonic Arts. A rich and compelling narrative of a remarkable life, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci is also a significant work of global history, juxtaposing the world of Counter-Reformation Europe with that of Ming china.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a book of simple genius. I've reviewed several books on Amazon, and never given a five star rating before. This wonderful book rates a five.
The memory palace was a system by which information was placed within the rooms of an imaginary palace, in this case a single room peopled with statues conjured for their association value with Chinese characters. Spence's book uses the palace images as its own guide, and he also analyses four religious prints published, with brief commentaries by Ricci, in a contemporary Chinese collection of graphics. The book is loosely chronological as well as thematic, following its protagonist from Macerata in Italy to Rome, Goa, Macau, and through various provincial cities to Ricci's death in Beijing. This is both an original and an insightful historical work, with wide relevance in spite of its specialised topic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a nice story to read! Shipment and the book quality was excellent.Published 1 month ago by Mr. Laszlo Levai
I thought this was going to focus more on the memory palace technique. It turned out to be more of a history lesson, but an interesting one nonetheless!Published 3 months ago by Liam Williams
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