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Spatial Imaginaries in Mid-Tang China: Geography, Cartography, and Literature By Ao W ...

Chapter :  Introduction
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Spatial Imaginaries in Mid-Tang China:


Interactions Between Geographical Advancements
and Spatial Imaginaries

This book studies the interactions between geographical advancements and spatial imaginaries in literature during the mid-Tang period (roughly from the 790s to the 820s), a topic that has never before been examined in detail. I argue that during the period of imperial reconstruction following the chaos of the An Lushan Rebellion (755–763), geographical advancements and literary imagination joined forces to capture a radically changing world and to give that world new meaning. By geographical advancements, I mean progressions in the geographical understanding of space, which include but are not limited to the accumulation of new geographical knowledge. I use the term as a broader concept that also encompasses a heightened geographical awareness, new spatial perspectives on the world, and new ways of thinking about human inhabitation. These advancements were acquired via surveys and explorations out in the field, and they were embodied in maps and geographical works of varying scope that reflected these surveys and explorations.