In this unforgettable book, Arthur Waley brings together a number of his articles, poems and translations. Included in this collection are pieces on the eighth-century Chinese poet Ts’ên Shên and the great Chinese prose writer, Han Yü, as well as some of Waley’s original poems and stories. But the most compelling is ‘The Secret History of the Mongols’, consisting of long extracts from a thirteenth-century Chinese saga. Written in vivid, elegant prose, it recounts fantastic tales of epic battles; of betrayal and love; of tyrants and prisoners. Suffused with symbolism and folklore, it is a masterpiece of storytelling which will appeal to the scholar and the ordinary reader alike.
Japan in the 10th century stood physically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Inside this bubble, a subtle and beautiful world was in operation, and its inhabitants were tied to the moment, having no interest in the future and disdain for the past. In a small diary, a young courtesan of the Heian period gives her account of…
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