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I Have New Books! Foxes Are Involved!


DrGravitas

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It's a modern translation of a 17th Century collection of Chinese short stories called "Strange Tales from Liaozhai". I think I'm going to enjoy it, Given what I've read in the preface, which summarizes some of the stories in discussing the author and his time period. Check out this excerpt summary:

"... as [the short-story] 'The Fox Duo' (hu lian) demonstrates when a pair of female foxes attempt to seduce a scholar by tricking him into competing in a poetry contest that will end up with them all in bed together". o_O

No doubt these 17th century stories will be quite different from modern ones, but perhaps not quite as different from certain kinds of modern stories as you might think...

From what I've read online, the translator was very thorough and kept very true to the source material. The author's even states: "I have resisted idiomatizing Pu's [the original author] writing because I have found that translations which attempt to appeal to the slang and colloquialisms of the translator's immediate contemporaries tend, like topical humor, not to age well." What's more, the author apparently provides copious amounts of context and historical discussion. All other translations and versions I saw online were 400-1000 pages. This translator's work is 6 volumes, each over 400 pages!

Moreover, a lot more of the short stories deal with foxes and fox-spirits than I thought. I recall one reviewer remarked on the number of stories that involved foxes, but I didn't think much of it. While reading through the preface, I have learned that 29 of the 83 stories in this volume alone involve foxes! The second half of the preface is dedicated to discussing how foxes fit into these stories, and providing historical/mythological context. It would seem that Vol. 1 is at least partially fox-focused. But, a quick look into the content pages of vol. 2 & 3 reveal that fox-related stories are not limited to just the first volume. Much more fox content than I expected. I get to satisfy my as-of-late historical-bent and indulge my enjoyment of foxes, too! Sounds like a real win! ^.^

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