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The Letters of Shen Fuzong to Thomas Hyde, 1687-88

William Poole (notes)


The earliest surviving direct correspondence of a learned nature between a Chinese person and an Englishman comprises several letters sent between May 1687 and February 1688 by a young Christian convert from Nanjing, Michael Shen Fuzong (c. 1658-1691), to the Oxonian oriental scholar and librarian Thomas Hyde (1636-1704). This correspondence had been sparked off by the visit of Shen to London in 1687 in the entourage of visiting Jesuits, and Hyde, always keen to attract native speakers of oriental languages, soon persuaded Shen to visit Oxford. This article presents the surviving letters of Shen to Hyde, in their original Latin and Chinese texts, with English translations, and also provides an extensive contextual introduction and full annotations to the letters themselves.

The Letters of Shen Fuzong to Thomas Hyde, 1687-88 (PDF format) 700KB

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