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Sun Yatsen occupies a unique position in modern Chinese history, being equally venerated as the founding father of the nation by both the mainland Communist government, and its rival in Taiwan. As well as being first president of the Republic of China, he was the author of two popular books, ‘Kidnapped in London’ (1897), and ‘Memoirs of a Chinese Revolutionary’ (1919). Yet what has hitherto not been realised, is that weeks after his 30th birthday in November 1896, Sun was already hard at work planning another book in English: a comprehensive political treatise on the tyrannical misgovernment of the Chinese nation by the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty. Started then abandoned twice over and destined never to be completed, let alone published, we can only conjecture what title this revolutionary book might have had.
The Lost Book of Sun Yatsen and Edwin Collins is the first study of this lost work in either Chinese or Western scholarship. It draws its originality and its themes from three primary sources, all presented here for the first time. The first is the series of lost writings co-authored by Sun Yatsen between 1896 and 1898. Originally planned as constituent parts of a greater whole, their contents shine new light on many aspects of Sun Yatsen’s early political thinking and his expression of it. The second is the mass of long-lost political interviews with, and articles dedicated to, Sun Yatsen and his politics which were first published in the British and American press in 1896. The third source is the obscure figure of the one-time world famous Anglo-Jewish Rabbi-Reverend Edwin Collins (1858-1936) - journalist, Hebrew scholar, education radical, devotee of Jean-Jacques Rousseau - who became Sun’s writing collaborator of choice during his years of political exile from China. Drawing on this wealth of neglected material, Patrick Anderson’s book offers a genuinely fresh perspective on Sun Yatsen and his political motivations and beliefs.