THE MYTH OF ASIA by John M. Steadman


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The ""myth of Asia,"" according to Professor Steadman, is that there is a myth of Asia; that is, that the nations of that continent compose an entity, monolithic, essentially different from the Occident, intrinsically in opposition to the West, and unintelligible to a mind formed in the Judaeo-Graeco-Roman tradition. What he lays to rest, in other words, is the myth of ""oriental inscrutability."" He analyzes Asian culture at the philosophical and religious levels, Asian art and aesthetics, and Asian political aspirations and traditions. In each case, he demonstrates the enormous diversity of the Asian nations at each level, while pointing out the ways in which they differ from (and the surprising number of ways in which they are similar to) the cultures of the West. There are several lacunae in the book; for example, there is no discussion of that most inscrutable form of Oriental artistic expression, music. Yet, Steadman's purpose is not to provide a cram course in all aspects of Asian culture, but to demolish an expendable myth. He does that convincingly and with style.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1969
Publisher: Simon & Schuster