Cover: Remembrances: The Experience of Past in Classical Chinese Literature, from Harvard University PressCover: Remembrances in E-DITION


The Experience of Past in Classical Chinese Literature

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674423411

Publication Date: 04/15/1986

147 pages


Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

Stephen Owen’s book, inspired by Chinese literature, is for all who value literature in any language. Remembrances takes up the strongest claims we can make for literature: that it can sustain life in the present and the life of the past. The past has always played a particularly powerful role in Chinese civilization. Both private memories and cultural artifacts were an inescapable part of the present, offering models for present behavior and recalling what had been lost.

Owen shows how the fascination with the past came into being in Chinese literature, some of the forms it took, and the ways readers have responded to such literature. He reflects on a series of moments in Chinese writing from the seventh century B.C. to the early nineteenth century. Through poems, anecdotes, exegeses, and one long story of an ardent collector and his wife, Owen treats a theme basic to Chinese civilization not as something exotic but as a motif fundamental to our civilization, even though its expression differs from our own.

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