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Johann Caspar Scheuchzer (1702–1729) und die Herausgabe der History of Japan


Michel, W (2010). Johann Caspar Scheuchzer (1702–1729) und die Herausgabe der History of Japan. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 64(1):101-137.

Abstract

Johann Caspar Scheuchzer’s name can be found in numerous papers dealing with Engelbert Kaempfer’s famous History of Japan (1727); during the past two decades in particular, his translation and editing of this book have received some harsh criticism. This study focuses on Scheuchzer the man, aiming to present a well-founded and comprehensive picture of his life and achievements. It begins with a description of his family and youth in Zurich, his emigration to England, his contribution in the field of medicine and rise to a prominent position in the European république des lettres. Following a synopsis of 17th century Western writings about Japan, Hans Sloane’s acquisition of Kaempfer’s manuscript Heutiges Japan and Scheuchzer’s preparations for its publication are traced. Although some criticism regarding his translation of Kaempfer’s text is supported, it is shown that Scheuchzer and Kaempfer do not actually differ greatly in their way of embellishing illustrations. While translating and editing Kaempfer’s work, Scheuchzer not only gained extensive knowledge about contemporary research on Japan, but also wrote the first bio¬graphy of the late Kaempfer and produced a lavishly illustrated, epoch-making book. Furthermore, his maps make a genuine contribution to the cartography of Japan. During the last years of his short life, Scheuchzer became by far the best-informed scholar on things Japanese and deserves a prominent place among early Western Japanologists.

Johann Caspar Scheuchzer’s name can be found in numerous papers dealing with Engelbert Kaempfer’s famous History of Japan (1727); during the past two decades in particular, his translation and editing of this book have received some harsh criticism. This study focuses on Scheuchzer the man, aiming to present a well-founded and comprehensive picture of his life and achievements. It begins with a description of his family and youth in Zurich, his emigration to England, his contribution in the field of medicine and rise to a prominent position in the European république des lettres. Following a synopsis of 17th century Western writings about Japan, Hans Sloane’s acquisition of Kaempfer’s manuscript Heutiges Japan and Scheuchzer’s preparations for its publication are traced. Although some criticism regarding his translation of Kaempfer’s text is supported, it is shown that Scheuchzer and Kaempfer do not actually differ greatly in their way of embellishing illustrations. While translating and editing Kaempfer’s work, Scheuchzer not only gained extensive knowledge about contemporary research on Japan, but also wrote the first bio¬graphy of the late Kaempfer and produced a lavishly illustrated, epoch-making book. Furthermore, his maps make a genuine contribution to the cartography of Japan. During the last years of his short life, Scheuchzer became by far the best-informed scholar on things Japanese and deserves a prominent place among early Western Japanologists.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 64 (2010) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:German
Date:2010
Deposited On:26 Jul 2010 07:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:12
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Related URLs:http://www.sagw.ch/de/asiengesellschaft/publikationen/Asiatische-Studien.html (Publisher)
http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?vID=86850&vLang=D&vHR=1&vUR=4&vUUR=11 (Publisher)
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-35191

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