Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose

Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose

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Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose

Gems of Chinese Literature: Prose

Read FREE!

Excerpt

A second edition of this book has been long overdue, blocked, like many other enterprises, by the war. Its aim will be found fully set forth in the extract, given below, from the preface to the first edition. That edition has been carefully revised, and by many additional translations has been doubled in size and brought down to the present day. Short biographical notices will now be found with all the authors quoted, whose names have further been given in an English-Chinese index, as a means of easy identification by students. Poems have been omitted; they are to appear in a companion volume.

Herbert A. Giles

December, 1922

Extract from preface to first edition

The present volume is a venture in a new direction. English readers will search in vain for any work leading to an acquaintanceship, however slight, with the general literature of China. Dr. Legge’s colossal labours have indeed placed the canonical books of Confucianism within easy reach of the curious; but the immense bulk of Chinese authorship is still virgin soil and remains to be efficiently explored.

I have therefore ventured to offer an instalment of short extracts from the works of the most famous writers of all ages, upon which time has set an approving seal. These are chronologically arranged, and cover a period extending from 550 B.C. to A.D. 1650—two thousand two hundred years. Short biographical and dynastic notices will be found scattered through the volume in their proper places; also such brief foot-notes as seemed to me necessary to the occasion.

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