A New Account of Tales of the World -Library of Chinese Classics Chinese-English
Compiled by Liu Yiqing (the Southern and Northern Dynasties), translated into English by Richard B Mather, translated into Modern Chinese by Zhang Wanqi, Liu Shangci
Published by Zhonghua Book Company, Beijing, 2007
Library binding book, dimensions 960 x 640, 1/16, 2 Volumes, 794 pages
A New Account of the Tales of the World, originally entitled An Account of the World, is a masterpiece of the biographical stories popular during the Wei, Jin and the Southern and Northern dynasties. Liu Yiqing, its writer (403 - 444) and a native of Pangcheng (now Xuzhou City of Jiangsu Province), was the nephew of Liu Yu, Emperor Songwu of the Southern Dynasty and was later invested with his hereditary title as the Prince of Linchuan. The book is in three volumes which are further divided into 36 categories according to different subject matters such as virtue, diction, government affairs, literature and generosity. It mainly narrates the talks and anecdotes of the officials and intellectuals of the late Han and the Eastern Jin period. It eulogizes the noble demeanor of the Wei and Jin period and the elegance of the celebrities, praises the lofty moral character and conduct of the people at that time, exposes satirically and allegorically the atrocities, brutalities, greed and extravagance of the ruling class, and commends the feudal moral ethics and the familial system. Focusing on kings and princes, generals and ministers, scholars and beauties, the bookoutlines, skillfully and often in a matter of a few words, the individuality, personality and charm of its characters by taking adeptly typical examples and details from real life. Ignoring the lesser ones, it highlights only the important aspects of its characters. Regardless of the completeness and roundness of its plots, it stresses the peculiarities of its characters. In terms of characterization, it makes an attempt to exhibit the distinctive personalities of its characters with a frequent use of contrast and foiling. The language of the book is concise and implicit, profound and mysterious, meaningful and thought-provoking. A New Account of the Tales of the World initiates, in the history of Chinese fiction, the "biographical style" novel writing which has a lasting popularity and is followed by many imitators of later generations.
Modern Chinese translators of this classic book, Zhang Wanqi and Liu Shangci, are celebrated linguists in China. They published Annotations to A New Account of Tales of the World in 1998. It is a significant work, which is very helpful for researches on and promotion of the classic work. The modern Chinese version is adopted for this bi-lingual book.
Richard B Mather's English translation of A New Account of Tales of the World is the first complete English translation of the classic work (1976), and an important book on the study of Chinese language. The new edition (2002) introduces numerous revisions to the first complete English translation of the work, that is adopted for this bi-lingual book.
作者：（南朝宋）刘义庆 著；张万起，刘尚慈 今译 马瑞志 英译