All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Carlo Sforza’s – L’Enigme Chinoise (1928)

Posted: May 27th, 2023 | No Comments »

An interesting little find in the London Library. Comte Carlo Sforza’s 1928 book L’Enigme Chinoise (The Chinese Enigma). And a small tale therein. Sforza was an Italian diplomat, head of the country’s foreign affairs ministry till Mussolini and then in exile till after the war as an anti-fascist. He was first in Peking as a consular attache in the early 1900s before returning as Italian ambassador from 1911 to 1915 where he both witnessed the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and then negotiated Italy’s concession in Tientsin (Tianjin). It seems that even as his career progressed back in Rome he retained an interest in China. More on his eventful life here.

This copy of his thoughts on China, published in 1928 in French, was gifted to the London Library in November 1946 by Lewis Einstein, an American diplomat and historian. I believe Srofza and Einstein knew each other from around 1908 when both were stationed in Constantinople during the Young Turk Revolution. More on Einstein here.

I’m hopeless with handwriting – and expect a reader here better – but Sforza inscribed the copy with a message to Einstrein: something like to a reader with Orient interests in common or something??

Carlo Sforza, 1921

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