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Recent Publication Information for David Porter


The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth-Century England


David Porter
Faculty Info


Eighteenth-century consumers in Britain, living in an increasingly globalised world, were infatuated with exotic Chinese and Chinese-styled goods, art and decorative objects. However, they were also often troubled by the alien aesthetic sensibility these goods embodied. This ambivalence figures centrally in the period's experience of China and of contact with foreign countries and cultures more generally. David Porter analyzes the processes by which Chinese aesthetic ideas were assimilated within English culture. Through case studies of individual figures, including William Hogarth and Horace Walpole, and broader reflections on cross-cultural interaction, Porter's readings develop new interpretations of eighteenth-century ideas of luxury, consumption, gender, taste and aesthetic nationalism. Illustrated with many examples of Chinese and Chinese-inspired objects and art, this is a major contribution to eighteenth-century cultural history and to the history of contact and exchange between China and the West.

All recent publications by David Porter

  • Comparative Early Modernities: 1100-1800
  • The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth-Century England

All publications by David Porter

The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Ideographia: The Chinese Cipher in Early Modern Europe (Stanford University press, 2001)
Internet Culture (editor, Routledge, 1997)
Between Men and Feminism (editor, Routledge, 1992)
Selected Articles
“Sinicizing Early Modernity: The Imperatives of Historical Cosmopolitanism” (Eighteenth-Century Studies 2010)
“Democracy or Bust:  Why our Knowledge about What the Chinese Lack is Really No Knowledge at All” (in China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance, 2009)
"China is Not a Foreign Country: The Promises and Perils of Cross-Cultural Comparison" (Michigan Quarterly Review 2008)
"Taihu Tatlers: Aesthetic Translation in the China Trade" (Batchelor and Kaplan, eds., Women and Material Culture: 1660-1830, Palgrave, 2007)
"'Beyond the Bounds of Truth: Cultural Translation and William Chambers' Chinese Garden" (Mosaic 2004)
"A Wanton Chase in a Foreign Place: Hogarth and the Gendering of Chinese Exoticism" (Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 2004)
"Monstrous Beauty: Eighteenth-Century Fashion and the Aesthetics of the Chinese Taste" (Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2002)
"A Peculiar but Uninteresting Nation: China and the Discourse of Commerce in Eighteenth-Century England" (Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2000)
"Rethinking the Aesthetic in the Century of Taste (Eighteenth-Century Studies, 2000)
Chinoiserie and the Aesthetics of Illegitimacy" (Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 1999)
"From Chinese to Goth: Walpole and the Gothic Repudiation of Chinoiserie" (Eighteenth-Century Life, 1999)
"The Poetics of Misogyny in Jean de Meun's Discourse of Nature" (Mediaevalia, 1998)
"Writing China: Legitimacy and Representation 1606-1773" (Comparative Literature Studies, 1996)
"His Master's Voice: The Politics of Narragenitive Desire in The Tempest" (Comitatus,1993)

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