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The Chinese Essay: An Anthology
     

The Chinese Essay: An Anthology

by David Pollard (Translator), David E. Pollard (Translator)
 

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Though collections of Chinese fiction, poetry, and drama abound, there have been no English-language anthologies of Chinese essays on the market. Now, veteran sinologist David Pollard has selected and translated the best and most representative examples of Chinese prose writing from the third century to the contemporary period.Succinctly tracing the history of the

Overview

Though collections of Chinese fiction, poetry, and drama abound, there have been no English-language anthologies of Chinese essays on the market. Now, veteran sinologist David Pollard has selected and translated the best and most representative examples of Chinese prose writing from the third century to the contemporary period.Succinctly tracing the history of the genre in China in his introduction, Pollard then wittily and informatively introduces each writer chosen. The selections themselves include Ye Shengtao´s ruminations of making a boat trip to visit his ancestors´ graves, Fan Bao on life in prison, Gui Yougang´s reminiscence of his mother, Yuan Mei´s essay on borrowing books, and more. These writings not only give us marvelous little sketches of everyday life, lifting the curtain to a past world, they reveal still more about the minds of the writers and how they saw the world they lived in. Though the compositions span the past 1,800 years, the bulk of the selections are from the twentieth century and range from early masters of the form, such as Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren, to the major writers of the middle generation, such as Ye Chengtao, Zhu Ziqing, Feng Zikai, Liang Shiqiu, and Liang Yuchun, and conclude with living writers who publish in both Taiwan and the mainland. Pollard´s aim has been to translate examples that are both good in and of themselves and also contribute something to the essay form. The classical selections represent the native tradition that the modern essayists either imitated or reacted against. Taken together, these writings illuminate Chinese attitudes and reactions to the world they inhabit and provide a vast amount of information about the details of everyday life, social intercourse, and man´s reaction to his environment.

Editorial Reviews

Choice - B.M. McNeal
In keeping with its venerable tradition of publishing scholarship on China, Columbia has produced a groundbreaking work edited by a respected Sinologist and translator. In his lengthy and useful introduction to this collection of essays by 36 Chinese authors, Pollard discusses the important differences between the Western notion of 'essay' and its Chinese version—orsanwen (everything that is not a poem)—which is steeped in the classical school curriculum....Pollard's up-to-date, lucid translations of this specialized form of prose can be read effectively as a companion piece to Elizabeth Buckley Ebrey's sourcebookChinese Civilization and Society (CH, Jul'81) by anyone interested in serious study of Chinese history and culture.

Choice
In keeping with its venerable tradition of publishing scholarship on China, Columbia has produced a groundbreaking work edited by a respected Sinologist and translator. In his lengthy and useful introduction to this collection of essays by 36 Chinese authors, Pollard discusses the important differences between the Western notion of 'essay' and its Chinese version—or sanwen (everything that is not a poem)—which is steeped in the classical school curriculum....Pollard's up-to-date, lucid translations of this specialized form of prose can be read effectively as a companion piece to Elizabeth Buckley Ebrey's sourcebook Chinese Civilization and Society (CH, Jul'81) by anyone interested in serious study of Chinese history and culture.

— B.M. McNeal, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvnia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231121187
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Pages:
372
Product dimensions:
5.04(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.74(d)

What People are Saying About This

Denis Twitchett
These translations are based on sound scholarship and very wide reading. The pieces that introduce each essay are clear, informative, witty, and memorable. They are aimed at the general reader... someone who wants to understand what concerns Chinese authors over the ages have dealt with in essay form, who would like to get an idea of their stylistic approach, who wishes to get an insight into the imaginative processes of a range of fascinating individuals, and who is motivated by a wish to broaden his or her own experience in other literatures.

Meet the Author

David Pollard is a veteran scholar of sinology and one of the most respected interpreters and translators of the Chinese essay. He was previously professor of Chinese at the University of London and professor of translation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he coedited Renditions, the Chinese-English translation journal, with his wife, Eva Hung.

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