This book offers a guided introduction to Chinese nonfictional prose and its literary and cultural significance. It features more than one hundred major texts from antiquity through the Qing dynasty that exemplify major genres, styles, and forms of traditional Chinese prose. For each work, the book presents an English translation, the Chinese original, and accessible critical commentary by leading scholars.
How to Read Chinese Prose teaches readers to appreciate the literary merits, stylistic devices, rhetorical choices, and argumentative techniques of a wide range of nonfictional writing. It emphasizes the interconnections among individual texts and across eras, helping readers understand the development of the literary tradition and what makes particular texts formative or distinctive within it. Organized by dynastic period and genre, the book identifies and examines four broad categories of prose―narrative, expository, descriptive, and communicative.
How to Read Chinese Prose is suitable for a range of courses in Chinese literature, history, religion, and philosophy, as well as for scholars and interested readers seeking to deepen their knowledge of the Chinese prose tradition. A companion book, How to Read Chinese Prose in Chinese, is designed for Chinese-language learners and features many of the same texts.