Via Matt Treyvaud’s No-sword, I learn that Imre Galambos has put his entire 2006 book Orthography of Early Chinese Writing online. Matt says: “the basic hook is ‘the principle of looking at uninterpreted character forms [...] without assuming the existence of a correct form.’ In other words, by ‘examin[ing] pre-Qin writing on its own terms,’ Galambos hopes to shed new light on its actual nature, including the ‘specific patterns behind [its] variability,’ and thereby on the development of the Chinese writing system in general.” I can think of several LH commenters who will be interested in this if they don’t already know about it.


  1. Yes, I’ve seen this before and it somehow dropped off my to-read list. (So many wonderful books, so little time).
    The trick with all this, as is often the case with anything historical, is to try and discard later assumptions, codifications, and conventions and get back to how things existed and were perceived then. What was done later may have brought order and clarity to the system, but it also changed how we interpret what was there before order and clarity (which naturally involves certain organising principles and value judgements) were brought in.

  2. Exactly, and it’s always a thrill to read someone who does it well.

  3. John Emerson says:

    Looks very good, and I’m planning to read it.

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