Chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical

Chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical

Andre Levy and William H Nienhauser, Jr., translated by William H Nienhauser, Jr. and Andre Levy
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/05/2007
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21365-5
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Description

Eminent sinologist Lévy attempts an almost impossible task: to provide a general picture of ancient Chinese literature... Lévy's book is unique among the numerous published histories... because it is organized according to genres rather than according to the customary dynastic-political divisions." —Choice

André Lévy provides a "picture of Chinese literature of the past." He does so not in lengthy dissertations, but by blending the colors of approximately 120 vivid translations with his personal insights, and then framing these readings in innovative historical accounts. The result is a brilliant illustration of the four basic literary groups of traditional China: the classics, poetry, prose, and the literature of entertainment.

Author Bio

Andre Levy is emeritus professor at the University of Bordeaux. Professor Levy is known throughout the world for his work on traditional Chinese literature, especially fiction. He has written or translated nearly twenty books in addition to his numerous articles.

William H. Nienhauser, Jr., translator, is Halls-Bascom professor of Classical Chinese Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1979 he helped found the journal Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) and has edited it since. He has published a number of articles and books on traditional Chinese literature, most recently The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Volume 2 (Indiana University Press, 1998).

Reviews

““[A] concise and elegant account of pre-modern Chinese literature. . . . The translations . . . are fresh, uncluttered, and vivid.” —Journal of the American Oriental Society “[P]rovides an insightful overview of traditional Chinese literature, and is especially recommended for general readers and beginning students.” —China Quarterly This informative, engaging, and eminently readable introduction to the three millennia of traditional Chinese literature is highly recommended for students and general readers.”

“"Eminent sinologist Lévy attempts an almost impossible task: to provide a general picture of ancient Chinese literature . . . Lévy's book is unique among the numerous published histories . . . because it is organized according to genres rather than according to the customary dynastic-political divisions." —Choice André Lévy provides a “picture of Chinese literature of the past.” He does so not in lengthy dissertations, but by blending the colors of approximately 120 vivid translations with his personal insights, and then framing these readings in innovative historical accounts. The result is a brilliant illustration of the four basic literary groups of traditional China: the classics, poetry, prose, and the literature of entertainment. ”

“[A] concise and elegant account of pre—modern Chinese literature. . . . The translations . . . are fresh, uncluttered, and vivid.”
 — Journal of the American Oriental Society

“[P]rovides an insightful overview of traditional Chinese literature, and is especially recommended for general readers and beginning students.”
 — China Quarterly

“ Eminent sinologist Lévy (Levy) attempts an almost impossible task: to provide a general picture of ancient Chinese literature within the confines of a small book. First published in French (La littérature (litterature) chinoise ancienne et classique, Paris, 1991), Lévy's (Levy's) book is unique among the numerous published histories (in Western languages) of traditional Chinese literature because it is organized according to genres (classics, prose, poetry, drama, narrative literature, and so on) rather than according to the customary dynastic-political divisions. By following this approach Lévy (Levy) (Univ. of Bordeaux, France) is able to provide greater insight into how and why various types of literary forms developed in old China. At the same time, the author shows how and why literature was an essential part of ancient Chinese culture and civilization. Lévy (Levy) includes more than 100 translations, each of which is accompanied by commentary. His observations deserve close attention because they reveal numerous insights. This superb English translation by Nienhauser (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; ed. of the two-volume The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, CH, Jul'87, Apr'99), one of the US's most accomplished China scholars, will make an ideal core text for undergraduate courses on traditional Chinese literature and culture as well as an excellent addition to all undergraduate and graduate library collections.December 2000”
 — J. M. Hargett, SUNY at Albany

“As a general introduction for the lay reader . . . Chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical works well, with the fast-pace and engaging short extracts providing excellent motivation. 11/23/2010”
 — dannyreviews.com

“Eminent sinologist Lévy attempts an almost impossible task: to provide a general picture of ancient Chinese literature . . . Lévy's book is unique among the numerous published histories . . . because it is organized according to genres rather than according to the customary dynastic-political divisions.December 2000”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1: Antiquity
I. Origins
II. "Let one hundred flowers bloom, Let the hundred schools of thought contend!"
1. Mo zi and the Logicians
2. Legalism
3. The Fathers of Taoism
III. The Confucian Classics

Chapter 2: Prose
I. Narrative Art and Historical Records
II. The Return of the "Ancient Style"
III. The Golden Age of Trivial Literature
IV. Literary Criticism

Chapter 3: Poetry
I. The Two Sources of Ancient Poetry
1. The Songs of Chu
2. Poetry of the Han Court
II. The Golden Age of Chinese Poetry
1. From Aesthetic Emotion to Metaphysical Flights
2. From Age of Maturity
3. The Late Tang
III. The Triumph of Genres in Song
Chapter 4: The Literature of Entertainment: The Novel and Theater
I. Narrative Literature Written in Classical Chinese
II. The Theater
1. The Opera-theater of the North
2. The Opera-theater of the South
III. The Novel
1. Oral Literature
2. Stories and Novellas
3. The "Long Novel" or Saga

Abbreviations
Index