Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Journal Of The American Oriental Society


Aat Vervoorn's "Men of the Cliffs and Caves" is a groundbreaking study of attitudes held by the scholar-official class concerning the issue of service vis-à-vis reclusion, retirement, and withdrawal. Written primarily in terms of the perspectives of the individual and the ruler, it focuses on the intellectual and political aspects of withdrawal. It treats the "eremitic tradition," but fails to distinguish between the practice of reclusion and reclusion in the abstract, between men in reclusion and scholar-officials. Thus, even while duly treating men in reclusion and topoi of reclusion, the study really is of a much broader and more pervasive topic: the development of political and intellectual notions about withdrawal in the scholar-official culture of China through the Han.


Review of "Men Of The Cliffs And Caves: The Development Of The Chinese Eremitic Tradition To The End Of The Han Dynasty" by A. Vervoorn.

This work is freely available courtesy of the American Oriental Society.