Best known for the groundbreaking works A History of Modern
Chinese Fiction (1961) and The Classic Chinese Novel
(1968), C. T. Hsia has gathered sixteen essays and studies written
during his Columbia years as a professor of Chinese literature.
Wider in range and scope, C. T. Hsia on Chinese Literature
stands beside his two earlier books as part of his critical legacy
to all readers seriously interested in the subject.
C. T. Hsia's writings on Chinese literature express a candor
rare among his Western colleagues. Thus the first section of the
book contains three essays that place Chinese literature in
critical perspective, examining its substance and significance and
questioning some of the critical approaches and methods adopted by
Western sinologists for its study and appreciation. The second
section has two essays on traditional drama -- one on the Yuan
masterpiece The Romance of the Western Chamber and the
other a sophisticated study of the plays of the foremost Ming
dramatist T'ang Hsien-tsu.
The third section is the richest and longest of the book,
containing six essays on traditional and early modern fiction. At
least four of these -- on "The Military Romance" and the novels
Flowers in the Mirror, The Travels of Lao Ts'an, and
Jade Pear Spirit -- are among the author's finest works.
Finally, the fourth section of the book, covering modern fiction,
includes one essay on the novel The Korchin Banner Plains,
an essay on women in Chinese communist fiction, and three concise
yet illuminating studies of the short story during the three
republican decades before Mao, the first dozen years under Mao, and
in Taiwan during the 1960s.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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