Tales from Tang Dynasty China

Tales from Tang Dynasty China: Selections from the Taiping Guangji. Edited by Alexei Kamran Ditter, Jessey J.C. Choo, and Sarah M. Allen. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., [xliv, 176 pp.]. 

Compiled during the Song dynasty (960–1279) at the behest of Emperor Taizong, the Taiping Guangji anthologized thousands of pages of unofficial histories, accounts, and minor stories from the Tang dynasty (618–907). The twenty-two tales translated in this volume, many appearing for the first time in English, reveal the dynamism and diversity of society in Tang China. A lengthy Introduction as well as introductions to each selection further illuminate the social and historical contexts within which these narratives unfold. This collection offers a wealth of information for anyone interested in medieval Chinese history, religion, or everyday life.

"This new collection of Tang dynasty tales translated from the Taiping Guangji is an outstanding new resource for students of China. The stories are well-chosen to represent the fascinating breadth of medieval Chinese culture—tales of romance, politics, revenge, and interactions with the supernatural bring to life the richness of medieval religion and society. The translations themselves are accurate and compelling. The authors and translators provide concise, clear introductions to each story and to the volume as a whole, and the collection is carefully organized and indexed so that teachers and students can explore stories on different topics. Lively and accessible to the non-specialist reader, this volume will make a terrific addition to any course on China."—Anna M. Shields, Princeton University

"The reader of Tales from Tang Dynasty China is struck above all by the impressive quality of the translations, which throughout maintain great attention to detail, style, and precision. The first-rate and user-friendly supplementary materials, including the introduction, appendices, bibliography, and index, further enhance the substantial pedagogical and scholarly importance of the volume. [This book] represents an invaluable contribution to the field of Chinese literary studies and a critical resource for students, instructors, and researchers of Tang literature and culture."—Rebecca Doran, University of Miami, in Journal of Chinese Religions