The introduction explains the important relationship between Chang’an and Tang literati writers, arguing that they serve as intermediary between the city and text. It gives a brief contextualized introduction to the Chang’an as both an imperial capital and a site for collective life. It discusses the nature and provenance of the book’s major textual sources, arguing for a need to reconceptualize and reimagine these texts as workings of the cultural imagination, rather than confined to bibliographic categories and regulated within generic boundaries. It also introduces the theoretical models used throughout the book, as related to the concepts of liminality, spatial practice, and the production of space.
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