Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts

Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts : Stories and Essays

4.07 (40 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 10 business days
When will my order arrive?


Qian Zhongshu was one of twentieth-century China's most ingenious literary stylists, one whose insights into the ironies and travesties of modern China remain stunningly fresh. Between the early years of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Communist takeover in 1949, Qian wrote a brilliant series of short stories, essays, and a comedic novel that continue to inspire generations of Chinese readers. With this long-awaited translation, English-language readers can immerse themselves in the invention and satirical wit of one of the world's great literary cosmopolitans. This collection brings together Qian's best short works, combining his iconoclastic essays on the "book of life" from Written in the Margins of Life (1941) with the four masterful short stories of Human, Beast, Ghost (1946). His essays elucidate substantive issues through deceptively simple subjects-the significance of windows versus doors, for example, or the blind spots of literary critics--and assert the primacy of critical and creative independence. His stories blur the boundaries between humans, beasts, and ghosts as they struggle through life, death, and resurrection. Christopher G.
Rea situates these works within China's wartime politics and Qian's literary vision, highlighting significant changes that Qian Zhongshu made to different editions of his writings and providing unprecedented insight into the author's creative process.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 299.37g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0231152752
  • 9780231152754
  • 1,504,202

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Written in the Margins of Life and Human, Beast, Ghost Author's Preface to the 1983 Editions of Written in the Margins of Life and Human, Beast, Ghost Written in the Margins of Life Dedication Acknowledgments Preface The Devil Pays a Nighttime Visit to Mr. Qian Zhongshu Windows On Happiness On Laughter Eating Reading Aesop's Fables On Moral Instruction A Prejudice Explaining Literary Blindness On Writers Notes Human, Beast, Ghost First Preface to the 1946 Kaiming Edition Second Preface to the 1946 Kaiming Edition God's Dream Cat Inspiration Souvenir Notes Editions Further Reading in English Translators
show more

Review quote

Qian is both funny and clever throughout Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts, and this volume serves as a good introduction to an author that is well worth knowing. -- M.A. Orthofer The Complete Review Excellently translated and well prepared with an introduction and endnote annotations, this volume of Qian's early short works is not only accessible to the general reader but should be read by all serious scholars of modern Chinese literature. -- Yu Liu, Niagara County Community College The European Legacy A valuable addition to the works of Chinese literature translated into English. -- Eileen J. Cheng China Review International
show more

About Qian Zhongshu

Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998), hailed as twentieth-century China's "foremost man of letters," is best known for his novel, Fortress Besieged, and his groundbreaking study of the Chinese literary canon, Limited Views: Essays on Ideas and Letters. Christopher G. Rea is assistant professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of British Columbia.
show more

Rating details

40 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 35% (14)
4 42% (17)
3 18% (7)
2 5% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X