Peake in China

Memoirs of Ernest Cromwell Peake

Ernest Cromwell Peake

Peake in China

Ernest Cromwell Peake

Distributed for British Library

With an Introduction by Hilary Spurling

224 pages | 40 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780712357418 Published October 2014 For sale in North and South America only
Ernest Cromwell Peake arrived in the Hankow region of inland China in 1899, the first medical missionary to attempt to bring modern medicine to the rural Chinese. Over the next twelve years, he overcame substantial obstacles—including the intense hostility of the local population toward foreigners and Western medicine—to build a hospital and successfully deliver up-to-date medical care to thousands. In the course of that time, he also married and had a son—the celebrated writer and artist Mervyn Peake, who spent his first twelve years living with his family in Hankow.
Many years later, back home in England, Peake wrote his memoirs of the period, recording his arrival, his impressions of the Chinese, and the story of his work—as well as his experience of the historic events of the Chinese revolution in 1911, the overthrow of the ancient Qing Dynasty, and the Boxer Rebellion. With illustrations by Peake and an introduction by Hilary Spurling, the book carries us far away in time and place, to a civilization that would very soon be swept away by war and the forces of modern life.

Note to the Reader

Introduction by Hilary Spurling

Memoirs of a Doctor in China


1. Arrival

2. Up the Yang-tse-Kiang to Hankow

3. By House-boat to Heng-chow

4. Early Days

5. Digging In

6. A Call on the Tao-t’ai

7. The Chinese Doctor

8. Preparatory Studies

9. Some Traits in the Empress-Dowager

10. Historical and Political

11. The Boxer Rising

12. Last Years of the Empress-Dowager

13. Kuling

14. Overland to Canton

15. The Case of Mr Sung

16. The Clinic

17. Emergency Calls

18. Research

19. The New Hospital

20. Revolution

21. The Hospital at Tientsin

22. The Daily Round



Review Quotes
Times Literary Supplement
"A fascinating and humane account of the most turbulent years in modern Chinese history. . . . The account of the 1911 revolution is powerful. . .  . Peake’s sense of having missed something important is evident in the poignant conclusion. . .  .Historians of China will find this book very useful new primary source, and Gormenghast aficionados will benefit from Hilary Spurling’s excellent introduction."
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