Science and Civilisation in China Vols I-III and IV (parts 1 and 2)

By: Needham, Joseph

Price: $5,000.00

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Five hardcover volumes, 9 3/4 inches tall small quarto, beige cloth boards, spine lettering in red, endpapers discolored, otherwise very good in very good dust jackets. VOL. I. Introductory Orientations. Joseph Needham, with the research assistance of Wang Ling (reprinted 1961; Cambridge 1954). xxxviii, 318 pp, tables, bibliographies, figures, 2 large folding maps. Inscribed and signed on title page, "for Franklin Woo and Marcus Woo/Hongkong Mar 74/Joseph Needham" with author's signature in English and Chinese. Also handstamped date, 1 May 1974, lower right corner of title page. Same date stamp right upper corner of rear endpaper, with address to left of date: "Bishop's House/Hong Kong/May 1, 1974". Rear endpaper, flyleaf and paste-down filled with notes in blue and red ink, presumably by Woo; VOL. II. History of Scientific Thought. Joseph Needham, with the research assistance of Wang Ling (1956). xxii, [2], 696 pp, [2], tables and figures. Red ink underlinings scattered throughout first several pages, presumably by Woo; VOL. III. Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and Earth. Joseph Needham, with the research assistance of Wang Ling (1959). xlvii, 877 pp, tables, figures, folding astrological chart, folding map, Unmarked, rear hinge starting; VOL. IV. Physics and Physical Technology. Pt. 1. Physics. Joseph Needham, with the research assistance of Wang Ling, and the special co-operation of Kenneth Robinson (1962), xxxiv, 434 pp, tables, illustrations, bibliographies; Pt. 2. Mechanical Engineering. Joseph Needham, with the collaboration of Wang Ling (1965), lv, 759 pp, tables, figures, bibliographies, unmarked.
Laid in printed card, Science & Civilisation in China. Volume IV, Part 2 Mechanical Engineering. Joseph Needham. Cambridge University Press. lists also other volumes already published (comprising the all of the present volumes).
NOTE: This edition of Science and Civilisation in China (without acknowledgment in English of the publisher) is a scarce reprint of the original Cambridge University Press edition, with only several copies listed in OCLC. However, each volume includes the following translation from the Chinese printed on the verso of a front or back flyleaf of each volume: "Publisher: Jhuo Liu Ging Di, Newmoon Book Co., Ltd., 133 Dhongqing South Road, Section 1, Taipei City, Taiwan; Printed by Da Yuan Printing, No. 5, 42nd Lane, Dali Street, Taipei City, Taiwan; The Republic of China."

NOEL JOSEPH TERENCE MONTGOMERY NEEDHAM (1900 - 1995), also known as Li Yuese; was a British scientist, historian and sinologist known for his groundbreaking research in biochemistry and embryology, and his herculean multivolume history of Chinese science and technology. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941, and as a fellow of the British Academy in 1971. In 1992, the Queen conferred on him the Companionship of Honour and the Royal Society noted he was the only living person to hold these three titles. Although his career as biochemist and an academic was well established, his career developed in unanticipated directions during and after World War II. Three Chinese scientists came to work with Needham in 1937: Lu Gwei-djen, Wang Ying-lai, and Chen Shi-zhang. Lu (1904-91), daughter of a Nanjingese pharmacist, taught Needham Chinese, igniting his interest in China's ancient technological and scientific past. Under the Royal Society's direction, Needham was the director of the Sino-British Science Co-operation Office in Chongqing from 1942 to 1946. During this time he made several long journeys through war-torn China and many smaller ones, visiting scientific and educational establishments and obtaining for them much needed supplies. In 1944 he visited Yunnan in an attempt to reach the Burmese border. Everywhere he went he purchased and was given old historical and scientific books which he shipped back to England through diplomatic channels and were to form the foundation of his later research. He got to know Zhou Enlai and met numerous Chinese scholars, including the painter Wu Zuoren, and the meteorologist Zhu Kezhen who later sent crates of books to him in Cambridge, including the 2,000 volumes of the Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia, a comprehensive record of China's past. On his return to the west he was asked by Julian Huxley to become the first head of the Natural Sciences Section of UNESCO in Paris, France. It was Needham who insisted that science should be included in the organisation's mandate at an earlier planning meeting. After two years in which the suspicions of the Americans over scientific cooperation with communists intensified, Needham resigned in 1948 and returned to Gonville and Caius College, where he resumed his fellowship and his rooms, which were soon filled with his books. He devoted his energy to the history of Chinese science until his retirement in 1990, even though he continued to teach some biochemistry until 1966.

SCIENCE AND CIVILISATION IN CHINA (1954-2008), a series of books initiated and edited by British biochemist and sinologist Joseph Needham, deal with the history of science and technology in China. To date there have been seven volumes in twenty-seven books. The series was on the Modern Library Board's 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century. One reviewer of the first volume in 1954 declared the project "perhaps the greatest single act of historical synthesis and intercultural communication ever attempted by one man." In 1954, Needham-along with an international team of collaborators-initiated the project to study the science, technology, and civilization of ancient China. This project produced a series of volumes published by Cambridge University Press. The project is still continuing under the guidance of the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute (NRI), chaired by Christopher Cullen.
The unauthorized edition of the first 4 books (in 5 volumes) offered here was surprisingly published in Taiwan, where a Chinese translation of the books was also published (Pingyi Chu, 2020 'Needham in Taiwan: Translating Science and Civilisation in China as Politics of Modernity and Identity," East Asian Science, Technology and Society: 14:2, 379-392). Despite historic friction between communist mainland China and democratic Taiwan, Needham was pleased with the translation, and developed a close association with scholars in both camps, including Franklin Woo.

PROVENANCE: FRANKLIN J. WOO was chaplain and lecturer in religion at Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong (1965-1976) and director of the China Program of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (1976-1993). Woo published a review of Simon Winchester's biography of Joseph Needham (China Review International, Vol. 15, issue 4, pp 588-593, 2008) in which he states, "personally, I can well recall a public meeting in Hong Kong in the late 1960s where Needham reported on the People's Republic of China. ... Needham's long view of the history of science gives rightful recognition to all the antecedents of modern science as we know it today, while avoiding the natural tendency of making the latter the yeardsick by which to measure the former."

THE BISHOP'S HOUSE (presumably Woo's home at the time), located at 1 Lower Albert Road, Central, is the residence and office of the Archbishop of Hong Kong. It was originally designed as a school for Chinese students and for many years housed St Paul's College. The house's origins can be dated from 1843, when Vincent Stanton was appointed Colonial Chaplain of Hong Kong. The building was completed in 1848. When the new Diocese of Victoria was created, Stanton handed over the college property to the newly appointed Bishop, George Smith.

Title: Science and Civilisation in China Vols I-III and IV (parts 1 and 2)

Author Name: Needham, Joseph

Edition: Reprint

Location Published: Taipei, Taiwan, Newmoon Book Co., Ltd.: 1956 - 1965

Book Condition: very good

Inscription: Inscribed to Frenklin J. Woo, lecturer in religion

Size: 5

Categories: Science, History, Society

Seller ID: 1098

Keywords: china, history, mathematics, philosophy, physics, religion, science, signed, technology