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Published posthumously in 1910, Archibald Little's memoir of his journey across the Yunnan Province in Southwest China was one of the first comprehensive accounts of the region to be published in English. Little, a skilled linguist, worked as a merchant in China for over fifty years and opened up the Upper Yangtze area to steam-powered commerce. He was well known for his intrepid travels into territories not yet explored by Westerners, and his record of this journey was originally published as a series of letters to the North China Herald. This book also contains Little's account of the building of the French Railway Line to Yunnan-Fu, which provided a trade route from India to the Upper Yangtze region. Across Yunnan was completed and edited by Little's wife after his death in 1908. The book includes a detailed map of the area and several photographs.
Through the Yang-tse Gorges is Archibald Little's diary (published in London in 1888) of his journey up the Yangtze River from Shanghai to Chongqing by a native junk boat in 1883. Little strongly advocated the introduction of steam travel on the upper part of the river between Yichang and Chongqing, a port open to Western trade. The upper Yangtze was full of gorges and rapids which made travel treacherous; Little's journey by junk boat took a month, whereas the journey by steamship would have taken only 36 hours. He was repeatedly rebuffed in his attempts to introduce steam travel to the upper Yangtze by the Chinese government, which he accused of standing in the way of modernisation. He successfully introduced a steamship on the upper Yangtze river in 1898. Several other books by Little and by his intrepid wife are also reissued in this series.
Mount Omi and Beyond is Archibald John Little's account of his travels in the Szechuan province of China. His journey took him from Chongqing to Mount Omi and the Tibetan border. Little professed to add nothing to the records of geographical exploration through his work, but aimed simply to provide a 'picture of China as it exists far removed from Western influence'. Little compares this part of China with Europe in the middle ages - in the colourful dress of the people, the absence of technology, and lack of communication with the outside world. He believed that this was a world nearing its end, as Western influences were reaching the Chinese ports through trade. Published in London in 1901, it contains a 'Sketch Map of Northern and Central Szechuan' and fifteen black and white photographs. Several other books by Little and by his intrepid wife are also reissued in this series.
Written by one of the most prolific writers on China at the turn of the century, this 1905 publication was intended as a guide for travellers rather than as a scientific study of Asian landscape and culture. Little, a well-known merchant and traveller, spent fifty years of his life exploring the Orient. The book is structured with a chapter dedicated to each region of China and the 'Dependencies' (Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan, Tibet, Indo-China and Korea), as well as Siam and Japan. Little proves himself a shrewd observer of both landscape and peoples, and the content of his work is wonderfully detailed. He manages to encompass a wide range of subjects into his survey, including natural resources, the development of railways, trade routes and meteorology, as well as a history of the land mass and populations. The book is supplemented with several maps and illustrations.
This series of essays by Archibald Little, a well-known Victorian expert on China, was published posthumously in 1910. Little, who first arrived in China as a tea taster for a German company, spent half a century living in Western China, and his affection for the Far East is evident in the romanticised tone of his work. Little's writings not only describe his life and travels in China, but also contain shrewd observations about the country's natural resources and commercial potential. The book is divided into four parts: 'Trade and Politics', 'Travel', 'Drama and Legend' and 'Religion and Philosophy', and the essays cover an eclectic range of topics, from 'How to register your trade mark' to a close analysis of traditional Chinese drama. Writing with an unmistakable sense of humour, Little exhibits a profound understanding of and empathy with the people of his adopted country.