578 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 Alan T. Wood. Limits to Autocracy: From Sung Neo-Confucianism to a Doctrine ofPolitical Rights. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1995. xvi, 264 pp. Hardcover $30.00, isbn 0-8248-1703-6. The useful core of this book is an examination of salient periods in the history of scholarly commentary on the Ch'un-ch'iu (Spring and autumn annals) when this Confucian classic in particular inspired those who wished to strengthen the position of the emperor by linking it with an overarching, universal moral order. The earliest case is that of die great Former Han ideologue Tung Chung-shu (179-104 b.c.), and the latest cases are those of the Meiji Restoration in Japan and the lateCh'ing political reform movement associated with the revival of New Text classicism in China. Greatest attention, however, is devoted to explicating the main concerns and historical significance of a burgeoning of Ch'un-ch'iu commentary in the Northern Sung period, the featured scholars of which are Sun Fu (9921057), Ch'eng I (1033-1107), and Hu An-kuo (1074-1138). Specialists in the history of Confucian classicism will find little that is new or challenging here, but others who are generally interested in Chinese intellectual history will
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 30, 1997
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