This article surveys the available English translations of contemporary Chinese literature from the People's Republic. In view of the post-Mao Party policy of relative freedom for creative writing, more works are pouring out of China than ever before. Of the most recent translations, the largest share belongs to Panda Books, a publishing subunit of the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing. Under the leadership of the Yangs (Xianyi and Gladys), a husband-and-wife team of great renown, this new Panda series has published more than a dozen titles as of 1984, and new ones continue to be received.

Despite its voluminous production, the editors of the Panda series have made certain choices that are of dubious value. Especially weak is the representation of traditional literary works, which are often drastically abridged or collected in slender anthologies. In comparison, coverage of modern and contemporary works is more exciting. The translations are generally correct, the most felicitous from the hands of Gladys Yang. However, the translations suffer from a certain uniformity of style and sometimes from severe cuts. Volumes in the series are nevertheless a useful addition to the increasing library of English translations of contemporary Chinese literature, now more than adequate for an undergraduate course.

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