The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

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9780231122696: The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai (Weatherhead Books on Asia)
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Considered one of the great works of Chinese fiction, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai is a story of desire and virtue set in the pleasure quarters of nineteenth-century Shanghai. Han Bangqing, himself a frequent habitué of the city's notorious brothels, reveals a world populated by lonely souls who seek consolation amid the pleasures and decadence of Shanghai's demimonde. From beautiful sirens to lower-class prostitutes, from well-respected patrons to repugnant criminals, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai brings the romantic games of the sing-song girls to vivid life, as well as the tragic consequences faced by those who unexpectedly fall in love with their customers. Han Bangqing also tells his story from a male point of view, revealing the danger of becoming trapped between desire and propriety. First translated in draft by the legendary Chinese writer Eileen Chang, and later revised by Eva Hung, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai combines psychological realism with modernist sensibilities and is a pioneering work of Chinese fiction.

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Review:

Its literary and historical significance is indisputable. More important to the average reader, though, [is] its absorbing storytelling.--Lesley Downer "New York Times Book Review "

The publication of this book is a significant event in the upper echelons of Chinese literary study... Finally a book that's been much talked about is now available to an international readership.--Bradley Winterton "Taipei Times "

[A] richly detailed... colorful cross-section of Chinese society.--H. J. Kirchhoff "Globe & Mail "

This is a finely printed publication, and an important novel, but it also provides a provocative study in edition and translation theory.--Chloe Starr "China Review International "

Accurate and readable. The novel provides a comprehensive and detailed description of a courtesan society... Recommended.--Choice

Synopsis:

Desire, virtue, courtesans (also known as sing-song girls), and the denizens of Shanghai's pleasure quarters are just some of the elements that constitute Han Bangqing's extraordinary novel of late imperial China. Han's richly textured, panoramic view of late-nineteenth-century Shanghai follows a range of characters from beautiful sing-song girls to lower-class prostitutes and from men in positions of social authority to criminals and ambitious young men recently arrived from the country.Considered one of the greatest works of Chinese fiction, "The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai" is now available for the first time in English. Neither sentimental nor sensationalistic in its portrayal of courtesans and their male patrons, Han's work inquires into the moral and psychological consequences of desire. Han, himself a frequent habitue of Shanghai brothels, reveals a world populated by lonely souls who seek consolation amid the pleasures and decadence of Shanghai's demimonde. He describes the romantic games played by sing-song girls to lure men, as well as the tragic consequences faced by those who unexpectedly fall in love with their customers.

Han also tells the stories of male patrons who find themselves emotionally trapped between desire and their sense of propriety.First published in 1892, and made into a film by Hou Hsiao-hsien in 1998, "The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai" is recognized as a pioneering work of Chinese fiction in its use of psychological realism and its infusion of modernist sensibilities into the traditional genre of courtesan fiction. The novel's stature has grown with the recent discovery of Eileen Chang's previously unknown translation, which was unearthed among her papers at the University of Southern California. Chang, who lived in Shanghai until 1956 when she moved to California and began to write in English, is one of the most acclaimed Chinese writers of the twentieth century.

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9780231122689: The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

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ISBN 10:  0231122683 ISBN 13:  9780231122689
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2005
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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised. Language: English. Brand new Book. Desire, virtue, courtesans (also known as sing-song girls), and the denizens of Shanghai's pleasure quarters are just some of the elements that constitute Han Bangqing's extraordinary novel of late imperial China. Han's richly textured, panoramic view of late-nineteenth-century Shanghai follows a range of characters from beautiful sing-song girls to lower-class prostitutes and from men in positions of social authority to criminals and ambitious young men recently arrived from the country. Considered one of the greatest works of Chinese fiction, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai is now available for the first time in English. Neither sentimental nor sensationalistic in its portrayal of courtesans and their male patrons, Han's work inquires into the moral and psychological consequences of desire. Han, himself a frequent habitue of Shanghai brothels, reveals a world populated by lonely souls who seek consolation amid the pleasures and decadence of Shanghai's demimonde. He describes the romantic games played by sing-song girls to lure men, as well as the tragic consequences faced by those who unexpectedly fall in love with their customers.Han also tells the stories of male patrons who find themselves emotionally trapped between desire and their sense of propriety. First published in 1892, and made into a film by Hou Hsiao-hsien in 1998, The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai is recognized as a pioneering work of Chinese fiction in its use of psychological realism and its infusion of modernist sensibilities into the traditional genre of courtesan fiction. The novel's stature has grown with the recent discovery of Eileen Chang's previously unknown translation, which was unearthed among her papers at the University of Southern California. Chang, who lived in Shanghai until 1956 when she moved to California and began to write in English, is one of the most acclaimed Chinese writers of the twentieth century. Seller Inventory # BTA9780231122696

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