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Colors of VeracityA Quest for Truth in China and Beyond$
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Vera Schwarcz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838737

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838737.001.0001

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Philomela and the Risk of History

Philomela and the Risk of History

Chapter:
(p.50) Chapter 3 Philomela and the Risk of History
Source:
Colors of Veracity
Author(s):

Vera Schwarcz

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838737.003.0004

The ancient myth of the raped woman who gives voice to history despite her muteness is used to describe the historian’s challenge as witness to atrocity. Ancient Chinese literary and historical heroes such as Jie Zitui and Si Ma Qian are used to discuss the great cost of commitment to historical truth. Tenacity and integrity are key to closing “the ugly gulf” between truth and history. Walter Benjamin’s “angel of history” is linked to the struggles of Chinese thinkers from the Song Dynasty through witnesses to the June 4th crackdown on the student movement in Beijing in 1989.

Keywords:   Philomela, atrocity, Walter Benjamin, Chen Yinke, Si Ma Qian

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