Chinese Rhyme-prose by Burton WatsonChinese Rhyme-prose by Burton Watson

Chinese Rhyme-prose

Translated byBurton WatsonPreface byLucas Klein

Paperback | January 13, 2015

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Selected as one of the sixty-five masterpieces for the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works

The fu, or rhyme-prose, is a major poetic form in Chinese literature, most popular between the 2nd century b.c. and 6th century a.d. Unlike what is usually considered Chinese poetry, it is a hybrid of prose and rhymed verse, more expansive than the condensed lyrics, verging on what might be called Whitmanesque. The thirteen long poems included here are descriptions of and meditations on such subjects as mountains and abandoned cities, the sea and the wind, owls and goddesses, partings and the idle life.

Burton Watson is universally considered the foremost English-language translator of classical Chinese and Japanese literature for the past five decades. Gary Snyder calls him a “great and graceful scholar,” and Robert Aitken has written that “Burton Watson is a superb translator because he knows what literature is.” Here his seemingly effortless translations are accompanied by a comprehensive introduction to the development and characteristics of the fu form, as well as excerpts from contemporary commentary on the genre. A path-breaking study of pre-modern Chinese literature and an essential volume for poetry readers, the book has been out of print for decades. For this edition, Lucas Klein has provided a preface that considers both the fu form and Watson’s extraordinary work as a whole.
Burton Watson (1925 - 2017) was the foremost English-language translator of classical Chinese and Japanese literature. Among his many books are individual translated volumes of the poets Tu Fu, Su Tung-p’o, Han Shan, Lu Yu, Po Chü-yi, Gensei, and Ryōkan; the philosophers Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei ...
Title:Chinese Rhyme-proseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:172 pages, 8.5 × 5.54 × 0.46 inPublished:January 13, 2015Publisher:New York Review BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:9629965631

ISBN - 13:9789629965631

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Editorial Reviews

"Burton Watson is the inventor of classical East Asian poetry for our time....Not that Watson is only a translator of poetry: he has made Bronze Age Chinese philosophy, medieval Japanese sagas, sūtras originating in Sanskrit, and modern Japanese scholarship on Chinese literary history as accessible to readers of English as Herodotus, Livy, and Johnson had been for generations." —PEN Translation Committee citation, on the occassion of Burton Watson winning the 2015 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation“Brilliant, argument-starting….Watson’s own interpretations are uniformly stunning; it’s an absolute treasure to have this volume back in print….at every turn he makes simple, intelligent decisions on how best to bring across (the literal province of translation) the rich atmospherics of the originals.” —Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly"To translate the fu into English is by no means an easy task, and Professor Watson should be congratulated on his commendable achievement in handling these difficult and recondite materials....The translations as a whole are both accurate and enjoyably readable." —Journal of Asian Studies"Burton Watson’s lifelong dedication to Chinese literature [is] a gift to us all." —Gary Snyder "His erudition, his deep familiarity with and his evident love of the source, and the delicacy and precision of his own English have given us an invaluable body of renderings from the vast tradition of Chinese poetry." —W.S. Merwin "Burton Watson is a superb translator because he knows what literature is." —Robert AitkenPraise for the Calligrams series:“All things must have their beginnings, and this beginning of the ‘Calligram' imprint is quite promising...These are inviting volumes. Their invitation is threefold, three volumes to kick off a series that deserves a long life and a wide readership.” —Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly