John Hu’s place in history can be summed up by the first sentence in the preface of the story, “Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Hu is that we know anything about him at all.” (Spence xvii) The question of why we know so much about Hu is that there were more than fifty Chinese who went westward during the eighteenth century, three of which were jailed in Canton under vague charges and stayed under arrest for eleven more years. Hu’s travels are no more historically important than those three that were jailed for eleven years. (Standeart 137) What we do know of Hu though is from letters written form Foucquet to... [continues]
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