Model Letters in Late Imperial China
60 Selected Epistles from 'Letters from Snow Swan Retreat'
Daniel Z. Kadar
Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
This volume introduces the reader to the historical Chinese epistolary corpus, in particular model letters, via sixty translated and thoroughly annotated letters selected from the Letters from Snow Swan Retreat (雪鴻軒尺牘). This collection, dating from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), became one of the most influential and renowned manuals for letter writers. The present book is a groundbreaking work not only because it provides a translation of this difficult-to-read source, but also because no single-authored corpus of Chinese letters has been translated into English to date.
Letters from Snow Swan Retreat is an invaluable source for researchers and advanced students of Sinology. Furthermore, it is an important material for historical pragmaticians, historical politeness researchers and other experts of historical linguistics, with an interest in epistolary activity across cultures. Finally, the letters presented here are of interest to ‘lay’ readers devoted to Chinese literature due to the enjoyable archaic style of the translations.
The present book is a useful reference material for student readers: along with a detailed introduction of the corpus studied, it supplements the translated texts with three Appendices and a Glossary of epistolary expression; this Glossary is the most extensive historical Chinese epistolary glossary that has ever been produced in English.
Dániel Z. Kádár is a Research Fellow in the Department of Oriental Studies of the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has a Ph.D. in Chinese linguistics. His research interests include historical Chinese letter writing, politeness research and historical pragmatics. He has written and edited several volumes of international standing, some recent ones including ‘Politeness in Historical and Contemporary Chinese’ (co-written with Yuling Pan, London: Continuum), ‘Politeness in East Asia’ (co-edited with Sara Mills, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), ‘Politeness across Cultures’ (co-edited with Francesca Bargiela, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan) and ‘Chinese Discourse and Interaction’ (co-edited with Yuling Pan, London: Equinox). He is also widely published in journals of international standing such as the ‘Journal of Politeness Research’.
ISBN 978 3 929075 62 5. LINCOM Studies in Chinese Linguistics 07. 242pp. 2009.