Field, Stephen, translator. Calligraphy by T.C. Ma.
Title TIAN WEN: A CHINESE BOOK OF ORIGINS.
Publisher New Directions, New York, 1986, first edition.
Seller ID 21095
123 pp, 8vo (8 1/4" H), hard cover in dust jacket. ISBN 0811210103 "Relatively unknown in the West, (this book) is a fascinating, though often baffling, archaic collection of 186 'questions' about the origins of life and the meaning of a wide vari ety of happenings startling and mundane, earthly and celestial. Because the poem has no single narrative thread, the most informed speculation posits group authorship by a number of roving Taoist scholars, each contributing riddles about t h e h i s t o r y and legends of his own province as well as ironically posed inquiries into the nature of the universe. The enigmatic and sometimes Sphinxlike conundrums may have been originally intended for debate - to give the popular and promi ne nt di al ec ti ci an s of over 2,300 years ago a tool for honing their convoluted responses. But however the poem took on its present shape and content, it remains the single most comprehensive catalogue of ancient Chinese mythology and pre-Imp eri al l ege nd in exi ste nce . This translation....combines sound scholarship with an artful grace to produce the 186 questions in couplets that both tease and enchant. In addition to a historical introduction that clearly explains what is known and no t know n a bou t th e po em, Field provides extensive notes to help the English-speaking reader understand the basic Chinese myths alluded to in the questions." The poem is presented in Chinese 'li-shi' script opposite the English text. P revio us o wn er's chop (st amp p n hal f-ti tle page, tiny bump to top edge of both boards. Dust jacket is price clipped, minor rubbing. Very Good/Very Good