Great Books of China invites readers to discover--or rediscover--some of the major achievements of Chinese culture and civilization. The literature of China remains largely unknown in the West, yet it offers much insight into Chinese life. The long continuity of Chinese culture means that texts created more than two thousand years ago are still part of the education and background of today's China. Great Books of China introduces outstanding works of various genres, from fiction, drama, and poetry to history, science, and travel; they were written by philosophers and artists, government officials and scholars, by men and women across many centuries and from every part of China. These great books are presented in their historic, cultural, and social context, with a focused summary of content and author. Beginning with some of the Confucian and Daoist classics and ending with modern fiction, Great Books of China features famous novels including The Water Margin (Shuihu zhuan) , Journey to the West (Xiyou ji), and Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng); celebrated dramas such as The Story of the Lute (Pipa ji) and The Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan); poetry from ancient times and the "golden age" of the Tang to the last years of imperial China; renowned historic manuals on Chinese painting, on the construction of Chinese gardens, and on a carpenter's varied tasks; major texts describing Chinese history, the military exploits of ancient generals, and the legendary journeys of Buddhist monks; and works by a number of modern writers including Lu Xun, Ding Ling, and Lao She. Concise, provocative, and illuminating, Great Books of China introduces the literature of one of the world's most significant cultures and helps us understand the China of the present and the past.
"In...Great Books of China, Frances Wood, a distinguished former curator at the British Library...sets out to fill a gap in Western understanding that is greater than the understanding itself. Her enthusiasm for this selection of key works dating from antiquity to the mid-20th century is catching...[this] is not an anthology of extracts but rather an introduction to their contents--a starting point rather than an end in itself...Some of her choices will feel familiar at least as ideas...There's much else that's charming, entertaining or simply quirky...the perfect vade mecum to Chinese writing..." --THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"An eminent Sinologist synopsizes and comments upon several dozen of China's most important literary works and in doing so offers a concise yet penetrating cultural history of the Middle Kingdom...Wood's survey invites readers to consider each work not in isolation but rather as a lens into the vastness and variety of Chinese culture...her expertise in readers' advisory is on full display."--BOOKLIST (starred review)"The 66 books introduced here by distinguished scholar and author Wood...range in time from antiquity to the present...The entries are uniformly informative and well written...This is an attractive and accessible book...Highly recommended."--CHOICE
Praise for Frances Wood's China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors
..".a text that is wonderfully descriptive not only archaeologically but in reassessing the emperor..."--LIBRARY JOURNAL
..".[Wood's] close reading of these sources offers fresh insight into a little-known figure and his kingdom..."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"This is the first biography of the first emperor of China...[an] interesting and informative work..."--BOOKLIST