A TREASURY OF CHINESE LITERATURE by Ch'u & Winberg- Eds. Chai

A TREASURY OF CHINESE LITERATURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a respectable enough anthology of Chinese prose, fiction and drama from the Chou period to the present, but the translations are all too literal (the dialogue of some of the plays could make the Goon Show for unintentional absurdity), and it is also often meanly representative (Mencius and Chuang -Tzu, for instance, cover about four pages between them). Then too why no poetry, why none of the Waley, Bynner, Pound versions? Chinese poetry, after all, is to many the real glory of that culture. Fiction takes up the longest haul: tales from the T'ang (highly imaginative concoctions), from the colloquial Hua-Pen and the supernaturalist Liao-Chai. The Ming and Chang dynasties provide examples of the classical novel, one being the famous Dream of the Red Chamber. There are samples of Yuan, Ming and Ch'ing drama, including the notable Western Chamber. The modern entries show considerable Westernization, especially a chapter from Rickshaw Boy, a one-time Book-of the-Month, and the first act of Thunderstorm, a family melodrama, popular during the '30's, a heady theatrical reminiscent of Pinero, Ibsen and O'Neill. Informative introductions to each section put the exotic profusion into perspective.

Publisher: Appleton-Century