THE LURE OF CHINA: Writers From Marco Polo to J.G. Ballard, by Frances Wood. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2009, 283 pp., £19.99 (hardcover)

Not many readers follow the adventures of Robinson Crusoe as far as China, or even realize he went there. But the first volume of the famous story was such a success that author Daniel Defoe quickly wrote a second volume the same year, 1719, which took the protagonist to China. It was natural in some ways that China should provide the exotic and interesting locale for the second tale, since it was by that time a rich part of the Western imagination, known from the writings of Marco Polo and other travelers.

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