The Chinese Essay: An Anthology

The Chinese Essay: An Anthology

by David 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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231121194
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 09/11/2002
Pages: 372
Product dimensions: 8.92(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

Skeleton Chronology
To Lead out the Army, by Zhuge Liang
Requiem for Myself, by Tao Qian
Address to the Crocodiles of Chaozhou, by Han Yu
Goodbye to Penury
The Whip Vendor, by Liu Zongyuan
My First Excursion to West Mountain
The Small Rock Poor West of the Hillock
A Monument to Rustic Temples, by Lu Guimeng
The Old Toper's Pavilion, by Ouyang Xiu
The Terrace over the Void, by Su Shi
Master Table Mountain
Red Cliff: One
Inscription for the Temple of Han Yu at Chaozhou
The Pavilion of Elation, by Su Che
The Mosquito Dialogue, by Fang Xiaoru
My Mother: A Brief Life, by Gui Youguang
The Xiangji Studio
Tiger Hill, by Yuan Hongdao
The Rewards of Stupidity
The Full Moon Festival at the West Lake, by Zhang Dai
Wang Yuesheng
Liu Jingting: Storyteller
The Jades of Yangshou
Pleasant Diversions: Judging Beauty, by Li Yu
Pleasant Diversions: Accomplishments
Pleasant Diversions: Literacy
Pleasant Diversions: Clothes
Life in Prison, by Fang Bao
Thoughts on Master Huang's Book Borrowing, by Yuan Mei
Three Summer Pests, by Lu Xun
The Evolution of the Male Sex
Ah Jin
Confucius in Modern China
Relentless Rain, by Zhou Zuoren
Reading in the Lavatory
On 'Passing the Itch'
The Ageing of Ghosts
In Praise of Mutes
The Ornamental Iron Mountain, by Xia Mianzun
Winter at White Horse Lake
Three Kinds of Boat, by Ye Shengtao
My Own Patch of Green
Eating Melon Seeds, by Feng Zikai
Bombs in Yishan
Village School and Academy, by Yu Dafu
The Winter Scene in Jiangnan
The View from the Rear, by Zhu Ziqing
Traces of Wenzhou
The Lotus Pond by Moonlight
Sickness, by Liang Shi-ch'iu
Listening to Plays
On the Road, by Liang Yuchun
Well-meant Words
A Temple Lodging, by Lu Li
The Art of Listening, by Yang Jiang
Cloak of Invisibility
Elegy, by He Qifang
Chignon, by Ch'I Chun
The Religion of the Chinese, by Eileen Chang
A Beating
The Last Word in Beauty and Ugliness, by Wang Ting-chun
Thus Friends Absent Speak, by Yu Kwang-chung
My Four Hypothetical Enemies
The Call of the Ruins, by Zongpu
The Countryside of the Past, by Koarnhak Tarn
Today's Countryside
We Can't Bring Back the Past, by Huang Chunming
Waiting for a Flower's Name
Shanghai People, by Yu Qiuyu
Goodwives, by Zhang Xingjian

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.

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