The New Chinese Classics

West Lake (courtesyh of Nat Krause

The transition from the Chinese classical period to the Chinese Empire in 221 BC was a centuries-long process of state rebuilding, law creation, and war. From this turbulent background of autocracy within and conflict without, there emerged the philosophies of China's Golden Age of Thought, whose literary expression is one of the treasures of the world cultural heritage.

A full understanding of the period and its philosophy has long been hampered by uncertainty about the nature and date of these classical texts. To this problem, Bruce and Taeko Brooks, principals of the Warring States Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, bring the fruits of decades of research. Worldwide scholarly reaction to the first proposal for this and a parallel book series was enthusiastic. Of the two, the series New Chinese Classics includes studies rather than translations, and focuses on works which are fundamental to the way the classical period is understood by later ages. These include the Chun/Chyou, the Shr, the Shu, and the Yi (or more precisely, its simpler precursor). Chronologically last in the series is a collaborative volume on the Shr Ji, which develops Gu Jye-gang's largely neglected finding that Szma Tan, with Dauist background, not his Confucian-trained son Szma Chyen, conceived the work and wrote most of it. This affects the historical or entertainment value of the Shr Ji at almost every point.

Titles in the Series

Spring and Autumn: The Chinese World Before Confucius (2016)
Rhymes and Reasons: The Chinese Classic of Poetry (2018)
A Usable Past: The Construction of Chinese Antiquity (2019)
Before the Yi: China's Oldest Divination Manual (2019)
First Historian: Szma Tan and the Shr Ji (November 2017)

Detailed descriptions are available at the above pages, which also include an order link for books whose publication has been announced.

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14 Jan 2014 / Contact The Project / Exit to Publications Page