The Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan Reader
Selections from China’s Earliest Narrative History
- PUBLISHED: October 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / China, History, Literature / Fiction
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 320 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 1 map
- ISBN: 9780295747750
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Zuo Tradition, China’s first great work of history, was completed by about 300 BCE and recounts events during a period of disunity from 722 to 468 BCE. The text, which plays a foundational role in Chinese culture, has been newly translated into English by Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg in an unabridged, bilingual, three-volume set.
This reader arranges key passages from that set according to topic, as a guide to the study of early Chinese culture and thought. Chapter subjects include succession struggles; women; warfare; ritual propriety; governance; law and punishment; famous statesmen; diplomacy; Confucius and his disciples; dreams and anomalies; and cultural others. An introduction explains the nature and significance of Zuozhuan and discusses how to read the text. Section introductions and judicious footnoting provide contextual information and explain the historical significance and meaning of particular events. The Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan Reader will appeal to readers interested in Chinese and world history, claiming a place on library and personal bookshelves alongside other narratives from the ancient world.
Authors & Contributors
Stephen Durrant is professor emeritus of Chinese language and literature at the University of Oregon. Wai-yee Li is professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. David Schaberg is professor of Asian languages and culture and dean of humanities at UCLA. Their joint translation of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan: Commentary on the “Spring and Autumn Annals” was awarded the Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation, sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies.
[An] immensely rich work. . . . The present translation addresses itself not only to specialists in Chinese history but to a general readership interested in the history of historiography. . . . A very major contribution towards the feasibility of a comparative study of historiography in East Asia and in the world."- Journal of Chinese Studies
This is one of the greatest translations of the Chinese classical works into English.- Asian and African Studies
Almost 150 years after James Legge's groundbreaking work (1872), we now possess a new, state-of-the-art English translation of the largest and perhaps "most important text" (xvii) from pre-imperial China...there can be no doubth that their work will henceforth set the standard...it provides a clear and accessible distillation of an ocean of scholarly literature.- Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture
Obviously, there are many other brilliant stories that had to be left out for producing a book, the purpose of which it was to make the world of the Zuozhuan more accessible to readers who would probably give up when being confronted with the complete version. It is to be hoped that the Zuozhuan Reader will whet the appetite of future students to explore the full world of the Zuozhuan when having read the starters presented here.- Monumenta Serica
For centuries, Zuozhuan was the first text to which Chinese literati turned for an account of their own classical history. Readers of English now have the highlights in one convenient and authoritative volume.- Paul R. Goldin, author of The Art of Chinese Philosophy: Eight Classical Texts and How to Read Them
Based on what is arguably the best translation of a Chinese classical text into English The Zuo Tradition / Zouzhuan Reader introduces readers to one of the foundational works of China’s historiographic tradition. Lucidly written, conveniently arranged, and accompanied with excellent introductions, the Reader will become the first step to students, comparatists, and the lay public interested in early China’s history, philosophy, and literature.- Yuri Pines, editor of Keywords in Chinese Culture
The Zouzhuan Reader—based on the authors’ magisterial new translation of the entire text—judiciously guides us into the historical world of Zuozhuan, its central themes and concerns, and its narrative procedures. A most helpful introduction to the ancient text, the Reader also stands on its own for its sophisticated analysis.- Martin Kern, professor of Asian Studies, Princeton University