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Jesuit on the Roof of the WorldIppolito Desideri's Mission to Tibet$
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Trent Pomplun

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377866.001.0001

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Introduction: Snow and Mirrors

Introduction: Snow and Mirrors

(p.1) Introduction: Snow and Mirrors
Jesuit on the Roof of the World

Trent Pomplun (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introduction summarizes the history of research on Ippolito Desideri and situates it within larger trends in Tibetan Studies and the historiography of the Society of Jesus. It argues that recent works in Tibetan Studies that make Desideri an emblem of an alleged Western fantasy about Tibet often participate in rather common fantasies about Jesuits and the Society of Jesus. It also exposes one of the salient rhetorical strategies in recent works on the Jesuit missions (namely, that they are finally, just now, escaping the confines of hagiography) to be a longstanding feature of Jesuit historiography that has its own political agenda.

Keywords:   Tibetan Studies, myth of Tibet, Society of Jesus, Jesuit myth, postcolonialism, Orientalism, Donald Lopez, John W. O'Malley, Liam Brockey

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