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China and the Chinese

Herbert Allen Giles

Book Overview: 

Herbert Allen Giles spent several years as a diplomat in China and in 1897 was appointed Cambridge University’s second professor of Chinese. His published works cover Chinese language and literature, history and philosophy.

This series of lectures, published as “China and the Chinese”, was given at Columbia University in 1902, to mark the establishment of a Chinese professorship there. The lectures were not intended for the specialist, more to urge a wider and more systematic study of China and its culture, and to encourage new students into the field.

While many of the observations are just as relevant today, others will remind us how much China has changed since the period of the Manchu Qing dynasty in which he wrote.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .B.C.

Part III consists of eight important and interesting chapters: (1) on the Rites and Ceremonies of the period covered, (2) on Music, (3) on the Pitch-pipes, a series of twelve bamboo tubes of varying lengths, the notes from which were supposed to be bound up in some mysterious way with the good and bad fortunes of mankind, (4) on the Calendar, (5) on the Stars, (6) on the Imperial Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, (7) on the Waterways of the Empire, and lastly (8) on Commerce, Coinage, etc.

Part IV deals with the reigns, so to speak, of the vassal nobles under the feudal system, the reigns of the suzerains having been already included in Part I.

Part V consists of biographies of the most eminent men who came to the front during the whole period covered.

These biographies are by no means confined to virtuous statesmen or heroic generals, as we might very reasonably have expected. The [47] Chinese historian took a much broader. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I've been reading a lot of "difficult" books recently, and a few short books that just weren't very good. Amid that pile, Pu's tales were a glorious reminder of why people enjoy telling stories, why people enjoy reading them, and how many different ways something can be interesting.

Short of listing

Άνθρωποι, ζώα και παράξενα πλάσματα ζουν σε έναν κόσμο σαν αυτόν που ξέρουμε αλλά και αυτόν που δεν βλέπουμε. Οι ιστορίες του Που Σονγκλίνγκ είναι πιο πολύ λαϊκά παραμύθια, γεμάτα μαγεία και υπερφυσικά στοιχεία, κάνουν τον πολιτισμό των Κινέζων οικείο (χελόου Αίσωπε) αλλά και άγνωστο.

Αν αφήνει μία

"Read these tales properly, and they will make you strong and brave; read them in the wrong way, and they will possess you."
- Feng Zhenluan
Early nineteenth century commentator on the Strange Tales

I honestly don’t know how to begin with reviewing a book like this. Normally with short story collection

According to John Minford (whose translation in the Penguin edition of some of these strange tales is my preferred translation of this book: Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio), what readers are about to experience here are

"longer stories with complex plots, often involving relationships between m


nicely terped

although the selected stories are not in the round(you know, at that time, the terp translated this directly from classical chinese, it was so hard, absolutely much more harder than reading old english, such as BEOWULF, for me), but it still gives me a fresh stunning exp

This is the kind of book that, when read carefully, can transform the English reader from perfect ignorance of Chinese culture to nerd-like engagement with aesthetics, society, history, mythology, folklore, science, medicine, technology, and the list goes on and on. It's really worth remembering how

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