by Lafcadio Hearn
A collection of retellings of Chinese ghost stories by the renowned writer Lafcadio Hearn. This volume prefigures his writings on Japanese folklore, and was written in 1887, before he went to Asia. The stories are accompanied by epigraphs from classical Chinese works and lyrics as well as some ornamental woodcuts and Chinese characters.
“I think that my best apology for the insignificant size of this volume is the very character of the material composing it. In preparing the legends I sought especially for weird beauty; and I could not forget this striking observation in Sir Walter Scott’s “Essay on Imitations of the Ancient Ballad”: “The supernatural, though appealing to certain powerful emotions very widely and deeply sown amongst the human race, is, nevertheless, a spring which is peculiarly apt to lose its elasticity by being too much pressed upon.”
Those desirous to familiarize themselves with Chinese literature as a whole have had the way made smooth for them by the labors of linguists like Julien, Pavie, Rémusat, De Rosny, Schlegel, Legge, Hervey-Saint-Denys, Williams, Biot, Giles, Wylie, Beal, and many other Sinologists. To such great explorers, indeed, the realm of Cathayan story belongs by right of discovery and conquest; yet the humbler traveller who follows wonderingly after them into the vast and mysterious pleasure-grounds of Chinese fancy may surely be permitted to cull a few of the marvellous flowers there growing,—a self-luminous hwa-wang, a black lily, a phosphoric rose or two,—as souvenirs of his curious voyage.”
(via Project Gutenberg)
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(from E-Asia Library)