Travel, Culture, and the Song Literati
This introductory chapter examines the correlations between Song-era travel, culture, and a new elite—the scholar-official class. It indicates the extent to which learning, culture, and bureaucratic service had coalesced to shape the outlook and self-identity of educated Song men, particularly during travel. The frequency and extensiveness of elite travel in the Song, and the variety of elite social and cultural activities on the road, among others, can shed new light on three aspects of Song history: the role the imperial government played in mobilizing and regularly relocating the country's political, social, and educated elite; the significant impact frequent movement had on the status and identity of the travelers; and the role their sightseeing activities played in the evolution of local history and the social and cultural integration of Song China.
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