Cover of Historian of the Strange by Judith T. Zeitlin
Historian of the Strange
Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale
Judith T. Zeitlin

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1993
348 pages.
$27.95

Paper ISBN: 9780804729680

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Reviews

This is the first book in English on the seventeenth-century Chinese masterpiece Liaozhai's Records of the Strange (Liaozhai zhiyi) by Pu Songling, a collection of nearly five hundred fantastic tales and anecdotes written in Classical Chinese.

"It is good to see a whole book devoted to the Liaozhai in English, that gives it as serious a study as it deserves: an informative and fascinating account of the background and world that produced it."

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

"Zeitlin's book may be described as a study of the Liaozhai tales in their cultural and intercultural context. She analyzes selected tales in relation to three topics or themes—obsession, gender dislocation, and dream. . . . The central theme of each chapter is enhanced by the inclusion of a network of related topics to cover a wide range of ramifications, such that the narration forms a richly patterned discourse. The book provides both learned description of these selected cultural contexts and an extremely subtle and brilliant reading of some of the most intriguing classical tales ever written in Chinese, all couched in Zeitlin's graceful and poised prose. . . . Her extraordinary sensibility, her in-depth engagement with the texts, indeed may serve as a model for the reading of Chinese texts in general."

Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies