Exquisite and amusing miniatures regarded as the pinnacle of classical Chinese fiction
With their elegant prose, witty wordplay and subtle charm, the 104 stories in this selection from The Strange Tales of Pu Songling (1640-1715) reveal a world in which nothing is as it seems. Here a Taoist monk conjures up a magical pear tree, a scholar recounts his previous incarnations, a woman out-foxes the fox-spirit that possesses her, a child bride gives birth to a thimble-sized baby, a ghostly city appears out of nowhere and a heartless daughter-in-law is turned into a pig. In his tales of humans coupling with shape-shifting spirits, bizarre phenomena, haunted buildings and enchanted objects, Pu Songling pushes back the boundaries of human experience and enlightens as he entertains.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.08(w) x 7.76(h) x 1.04(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
PU SONGLING (1645-1715) was a poor, undistinguished scholar who had an uneventful life. He took the lowest degree, the bachelor's, before he was twenty, but ten years later, he still had not succeeded in passing the second, the master's degree, due to his neglect of the standard fields of academic study. His loss of personal status is the world's gain, however, because his overriding interest was in tales of the supernatural, and his collected works, the bible of Chinese supernatural folktales.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book contains a collection of a little over 100 tales from Pu Songling's original 500 , which is rather unfortunate, as I would love to read all of them. I was hooked from the very first tale and took every opportunity to read more. Granted, some tales are mere curiosities that I don't find particularly appealing (for example, an account of a man with a dozen frogs that were trained to croak on cue and in "perfect pitch"), but most were enthralling. The tales have a broad range of subjects, although most were dealing with either fox-spirits or ghost, yet every one was different and unique.The translator's preface was good as well and helped to put things in the proper perspective. The notes and a glossary at the back also are great for those, like myself, not familiar with the broader Chinese literature. The only complaint I have -- and even that is more my fault than the editor's -- is that I didn't realize there were notes until I was practically done with the book. It would have been helpful to have footnote-style annotation in the text of the tales to give some indication that this particular line/word is explained in the notes. As things stand, if you run across something that you don't understand, you just have to flip to the back and hope there is a note about it. That said, the notes are thorough and provide a lot of added content.