A Market for Manuscripts: Scribal Publishing and Entertainment Literature in 19th century Beijing (LU Zhenzhen)

Abstract: In the 19th century, which lies late in the history of commercial printing in China, a flourishing literature of entertainment circulated through the handwritten medium in the urban center of Beijing. Thousands of manuscripts collected in the area in the early 20th century trace their origins to shops which specialized in the handwritten production of stories and songs, nourished by the vibrant musical and theatrical culture of the capital. In this talk I provide a look at Baiben Zhang (“Mr. Zhang of the hundred volumes”), the most prominent of its milieu, and its operational model from production and branding and to pricing and distribution. With products spanning the range of northern performance genres and titles numbering at least in the hundreds, the success of Baiben Zhang calls to attention important channels of commercial manuscript production and distribution in the late Qing. I conclude with questions on the distinctness of Beijing as a locale, the circulation of popular literature in the urban setting, and factors behind the continuity of scribal operations in an age perceived to be dominated by print.

以百本张书坊为个案:清代后期北京抄书业与俗文学的流通 (陆珍桢)

摘要:晚清在近代出版史上让人联想到的或许是公共传媒与新进印刷术,而在此时的京城,多种读物继续以手写媒介发行流通。民国间北平学人搜集的大量曲本中,数以千计原来自百本张等专以抄写发售通俗曲本为业的清代书坊,这些抄坊的营业目录与多种现存抄本提示其在清代后期相当的生产规模。此讲座以百本张为中心展开讨论,包括其品牌,定价,产品种类,直到从抄本手迹中可窥视到的传抄过程,与书坊在庙会发售书本的传统营销模式。此个案应引发多方面的思考,包括京城独特的地域性,都市间通俗文学的流通,以及结合传统技术与娱乐文化的抄书业能在公认为印刷主导时代继以兴荣的种种原因。


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