Volume 5: The Old Supreme and Civilised Empire: Images of Great Britain as Portrayed by Karl F. A. Gützlaff (1803-1851)
Author: David K Y Chng
Karl F. A. Gützlaff (1803-1851) was by far the most colourful and controversial Protestant missionary. He played an important role in Sino-Western relations during the first half of the nineteenth century, as a historian put it, "for two decades, [he] had a part in almost every major event on the China coast". He was a prolific writer. Besides works written in English, Dutch, and German, he produced 63 Chinese religious and secular works.
In 1867 Alexander Wylie produced a comprehensive bibliography of Protestant writings in Chinese entitled Memorials of Protestant Missionaries to the Chinese. The bibliography lists a Chinese title Da Yingguo tongzhi (A history of Great England) written by Gützlaff. Almost one and a half century later we realised that this piece of information needed to be rectified. As a matter of fact, Gützlaff wrote two separate works with the identical title Da Yingguo tongzhi. One, written in the form of fiction, depicts governmental, religious, and other aspects of England in the 1830s, while the other, written in the form of prose, chronicles the history of England from the conquest of Britannia by the Romans to the times of William IV (reigned 1830-37). A copy of the former is available in the Harvard-Yenching Library while the only copy of the latter believed to exist in the world is housed at the Leeds University Library.
The monograph consists of two parts. Part I deals with dates of composition, and years and places of publication of both Da Yingguo tongzhi. It also examines the politics of the translation of the two terms which appear in both History of Great England. Under the Qing Celestial Empire institution, Great Britain, together with other tributary countries such as Korea, Ryukyu, and Vietnam, was regarded as a small country, and her ruler was deemed equivalent to a Chinese courtier of the second rank. In order to uphold its honour and prestige, Gützlaff adopted the referent "Da-Ying (guo)", literally "Great England", to place England on an equal footing with the Da-Qing (Great Qing) discursively. He also translates the title of the British monarch "king" as "huangdi 皇帝" (emperor) in Chinese. It then discusses the political implications and impact of the uses of both translated terms that eventually contributed to the demise of the Qing Celestial Empire discourse. Part II presents readers with modern punctuated editions of the two Da Yingguo tongzhi with annotations.
在中国近代史上，普鲁士新教传教士郭实猎(Karl Friedrich August Gützlaff，1803-1851)是个颇为重要和具争议性的人物。其后半生"二十年里几乎参与过中国沿海每一个重大事件"，对中英两国的外交纷争扮演着举足轻重的角色。他一生译著中文书刊凡63种，对晚清经世学者的世界史地，以及太平天国的宗教思想有着显著的影响。1867年刊行的伟烈亞力《基督教新教在华传教士名录》记载郭实猎著有《大英国统志》一种。将近一个半世纪后，我们始发现这则信息必须修正。其实，郭氏著有二种同名异书《大英国统志》：一是学界均知道的，以小说体裁写成、记述英国概况，目前庋藏于美国哈佛大学哈佛燕京图书馆；另一是以散文撰写，今天仍静荡荡躺卧在英国利兹大学图书馆里。后一种由新嘉坡坚夏书院于1838/39年印刷问世，是世界上第一部以中文书写的英国史地书。唯自刊行后177年，就被尘埋，学者未知未闻，今日所见殆海内外仅有之孤本。是书之重现对新加坡中文印刷出版史，意义重大；它帮助我们厘清郭实猎译著的一些疑问。本书即是对这二部异书同名《大英国统志》进行较为深入的研究。