Reviews Claudine Ang. Poetic Transformations: Eighteenth-Century Cultural Projects on the Mekong Plains. Cambridge (Massachusetts) and London: Harvard University Asia Center, 2019. xvi, 292 pp. Hardcover $65.00, ISBN 978-0-674-23723-0. This book provides the reader with close readings of a number of literary pieces created by two highly educated men of letters who held positions of authority in several territories south of Huế during the eighteenth century, and in so doing takes the reader deeply into the social and intellectual history of that time and region. Of the two ﬁgures whose literary productions are examined, one, Mạc Thiên Tứ (1710–1780) was the local Chinese ruler of Hà Tiên, a coastal port city on the western edge of the Mekong Delta. Hà Tiên was at that time used as an enclave by Ming loyalists generally allied with the Nguyễn lords who ruled the South from their capital in Phu #1; Xuân (present-day Huế). Mạc Thiên Tứ’s family had come to the region as political refugees in the late seventeenth century. The second ﬁgure, NguyễnCư Trinh (1716–1767) was a high ranking Vietnamese ofﬁcial whose forebears had served the Nguyễn lords for several generations. He served successively as the governor of Quang Ngãi Prefecture
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 6, 2020
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