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Translator’s Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The scholar, novelist and poet Qian Zhongshu was one of the great minds of the twentieth century. Qian's scholarship was characterized by his consummate mastery of the entire corpus of the Chinese tradition, both literary and vernacular, and his prodigious memory, supplemented by a lifetime's copious note taking. More foolhardy an enterprise it is to attempt to translate the work of a man as erudite and broadly read as Qian Zhongshu. Translation, more broadly understood, could be said to have characterized Qian Zhongshu's own life. The author's approach in translating has been an attempt to make them as fluent and readable as possible, whilst retaining the discursive flow of Qian's originals. The questions raised and the suggestions made have served to send the author back to Qian Zhongshu's original text, invariably to acquire a better appreciation of the wit and subtlety of his prose.

Keywords: Chinese tradition; Qian Zhongshu



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