China's late Ming Dynasty (1572-1644) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1722) saw the true splendor of the short essay. In the history of short essays in ancient China, no other period can match them in the quality and number of works, literary schools, or the variety of styles. Compared with those written before or after, the short essays during these periods were richer in the choice of topics and freer in form, focusing not only on real social life, but also on worldly experience and life's little delights. They are a rich and vital part of China's literary and cultural heritage. The writings collected in this book are considered to be the very best examples from an era of China's history that is synonymous with beautifully crafted short essays. Written by more than 100 different Chinese literary authors from both dynasties, the book includes 82 essays from the Ming Dynasty and 45 essays from the Qing Dynasty. These are arranged in the order of the authors' birth dates and are tenderly translated into English by leading Chinese translators who have faithfully represented the styles and literary achievements made by the featured essayists. The book will delight fans of classic Chinese short essays, as well provide the perfect introduction to readers new to the genre.
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