IN THE SPRING OF 1877, sinologist Herbert Allen Giles (1845–1935), then acting as British vice consul at Canton, began to translate Pu Songling’s (1640–1715) Liaozhai zhiyi 聊齋志異 (hereafter Liaozhai)—a touchstone collection of nearly five hundred Chinese classical tales renowned for its vivid portrayal of ghosts and fox spirits.1 Three years later, Giles’s annotated English translation of 146 Liaozhai tales, collected in two volumes, was published by Thos. de la Rue and Company in London under the title Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (hereafter Strange Stories).2 This translation came thirty-eight years after two Protestant missionaries in China, both associated with the Canton-based journal Chinese Repository, separately published the earliest known Western renditions of the Liaozhai in 1842.3 In the intervening four decades, only a very small number of Pu’s tales were rendered into Western languages, with the most numerous group...
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Research Article| December 01 2021
Chinese Folklore for the English Public: Herbert A. Giles’s 1880 Translation of Pu Songling’s Classical Tales
Comparative Literature (2021) 73 (4): 442–462.
Shengyu Wang; Chinese Folklore for the English Public: Herbert A. Giles’s 1880 Translation of Pu Songling’s Classical Tales. Comparative Literature 1 December 2021; 73 (4): 442–462. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-9313118
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