Book Chapter on Banihûn's and Pu-gong's Dictionary, the Manchu–Chinese Literary Ocean (1821)



"Lexicography of the Entrenched Empire: Banihûn’s and Pu-gong's Manchu–Chinese Literary Ocean (1821)," in The Whole World in a Book: Dictionaries in the Nineteenth Century, edited by Sarah Ogilvie and Gabriella Safran, 218--35 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).

The chapter focuses on a dictionary published by members of the bilingual banner elite in the Qing empire in the early nineteenth century: Banihûn's and Pu-gong's Qing-Han wenhai 清漢文海 (Manchu–Chinese literary ocean), a reworking of an eighteenth-century poetic Chinese dictionary. The chapter compares this bilingual project to an unfinished Chinese–French dictionary inspired by the same source. It argues that at a time of linguistic and social change in China, Banihûn and Pu-gong aspired to further integrate the empire's two literary languages and thereby to provide a resource for lettered bannermen such as themselves and to maintain what they knew to be the fragile linguistic equilibrium.