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Eminent Chinese scholar John Minford's superb translation captures the consummate skill and understated humor of Pu Songling's classic Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (also known as Strange Tales from Liaozhai). With elegant prose, witty wordplay, and subtle charm, the 104 stories (selected out of over 400 from the original work) in this collection reveal a world in whEminent Chinese scholar John Minford's superb translation captures the consummate skill and understated humor of Pu Songling's classic Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (also known as Strange Tales from Liaozhai). With elegant prose, witty wordplay, and subtle charm, the 104 stories (selected out of over 400 from the original work) in this collection reveal a world in which nothing is as it seems. In his tales of shape-shifting spirits, bizarre phenomena, haunted buildings, and enchanted objects, Pu Songling pushes the boundaries of human experience and enlightens as he entertains. * Includes an introduction, suggestions for further reading, glossary, notes, and illustrations...

Title : Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140447408
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 608 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio Reviews

  • Hadrian
    2018-11-03 19:45

    Each played hisPipes of Heaven,Seeking not beauty of sound,But music that is what it isFor reasons of its own.-The Author's Preface, Lines 11-13The 104 stories in this collection (out of some 450+ in the original work) are clearly tales, and they are clearly Chinese. Yet what is in them to make them so strange?The easy answer would be the presence of the supernatural. There are many stories with goblins and dragons and paintings that come alive, mountains where immortals live and mystical dreams. A recurring element in these stories is the trickster fox-spirit, or huli jing (狐狸 精), which take on human form to seduce or bamboozle hapless humans. To use an archaic and gendered word, they are vixens in every way. But this is only part of what is strange. There are stories here which are plausible despite their label of strangeness. These include little anecdotes about panicked crowds running around naked during an earthquake, or merchants with trained animals, but also romantic set pieces true love outside of the social order, or fearsome women who reverse traditional gender norms. (but to be honest, many people today find that last one strange and frightening). These might appear to be romantic canards to us in the 21st century, but back then they were so rare to be an object of curiosity. Now granted these are placed along sides of fox spirits and lovers come back from the dead, but even within these supernatural images, the humans who act in them are still 'real', in the sense that their behavior is familiar. Just because they are fictional, doesn't mean they aren't real. There are convincing stories of obsession, lust, greed, and other very real follies. It is these human emotions which ground these fables from the past in something distinctly recognizable. There's also an audacious criticism of the government and the inefficiencies of the educational system. Many officials are either out-of-touch, powerless, or complete dupes. This portrayal might be motivated by resentment at the author's own failure to navigate the degree system, but it could be another factor entirely - this was written the Qing dynasty, who are cast as Manchurian invaders who overthrew the Ming in 1644, when Pu Songling was a young child. Speaking of history, this book does not exist in a vacuum. The stories are collections of local folklore, but the author also cannot help but add references to past poets and contemporary beliefs. Because we are not 17th century Chinese scholars, many of the poetic references will inevitably be beyond our grasp, but the translator has included some extremely helpful endnotes. These stories blur the boundaries between what is real and what is unreal, or what is natural and supernatural. I enjoyed them, but I wish the rest were there too.

  • Rowena
    2018-10-29 00:52

    The title, and the fact that this is a Penguin classic, attracted me. I really, really enjoyed this read. The stories were quite short, some only a paragraph in length, and the longest ones being perhaps 4-5 pages. And they were strange indeed, strange is definitely an understatement. They were very candid tales, especially considering they were written almost 400 years ago. Many stories were of a sexual nature which also surprised me because of when the stories were written. A couple of stories were distressing, I must admit. I’m fascinated by the idea of Chinese ghosts; they actually bleed if injured. And the idea of fox spirits that take on human form and act like succubi.

  • Anh
    2018-11-18 23:36

    thất vọng bàng hoàng đến câm nín luôn :|review mai bình tĩnh lại sẽ viết vậy :(------Nhớ lại cách đây hơn 7 năm, tui từng mê mẩn với loạt phim Liêu trai chí dị chiếu trên tivi lúc 12h trưa, tui dán mắt vô tv mòn mỏi ngày ngày qua ngày khác, coi đi coi lại, coi mê mẩn một phần vì dàn diễn viên đẹp lộng lẫy từ chính tới phụ, từ nam tới nữ...Tui đâm nhập tâm mấy câu chuyện về hồ li, tình yêu giữa người và tiên, hồ li, ma...Với tui lúc đó các tập phim không chỉ thu hút nhờ cốt truyện li kì lôi cuốn mà còn nhờ vào tính nhân văn sâu sắc về cách đối nhân xử thế, tình yêu thương và các thể loại phép thuật, quả báo... -> tui nói dài dòng vậy để biết là đối với tui, bản điện ảnh của Liêu trai chí dị rất rất tuyệt vời :)Xong hồi đó tui biết phim được dựng lại từ bộ truyện Liêu trai chí dị của Bồ Tùng Linh, mà hồi đó làm gì có nhiều tiền nên tui nhủ lòng sau này nhất định mua về đọc. Rồi Nhã Nam xuất bản cuốn Liêu Trai chí dị này, khổ lớn, dày cộm, bìa rời cầm siu đã tay, tui đâu có ngu mà ko tậu liền về để đọc, nhủ là phim đã hay vậy truyện chak cũng ko vừa. Tui là người thực tế nha, biết phim làm dựa theo cốt truyện của nguyên tác thôi nên phim sẽ được thêm thắt này nọ, thêm mắm dặm muối các tình tiết để gây hấp dẫn và kéo dài mạch phim. Nhưng tui nghĩ cốt truyện thì vẫn được giữ, linh hồn của phim là được xây dựng nên từ linh hồn của truyện, phim 10 thì truyện tệ lắm cũng đc 7...bla...bla...tâm trạng tui khi chuẩn bị đọc cuốn này háo hức vô cùng luôn...Ấy vậy mà tui bé cái lầm, tui thật là ngây thơ mà...Mẹ ôi, đọc xong chừng 3, 4 truyện đầu (cũng có truyện đã được dựng thành phim đó chứ). Tâm trạng tui xẹp như cái bong bóng xì luôn :( Tui không biết do cách dịch của Đào Trinh Nhất hay bởi lí do nào khác, mà tui thấy bản dịch không được trau chuốt, có nhiều chỗ cứ gượng gạo và "trần trụi" sao sao á :| Nhưng bản dịch là vấn đề con kiến thôi, nội dung mới là con voi >.<Xong tui ráng, tui nghĩ mới mấy truyện đầu thôi, chắc tui chưa thấm nhuần được hết ý nghĩa khéo léo ẩn giấu sau từng câu truyện, chưa quen với bản dịch này. Tui ráng tới câu chuyện thứ 15 bắt đầu tui đuối đuối. Bây giờ nói tới cốt truyện. Thi thoảng lắm mới có một câu chuyện có ý nghĩa nhân văn thật sự. Còn lại 95% là các tình tiết kiểu như chỉ mới gặp nhau có mấy phút đã lôi nhau lên giường giao hoan các kiểu (mặc kệ nó là hồ li, là ma, là họ hàng hang hốc xa xôi các kiểu, miễn nó đẹp và dễ dãi là anh quất tất >''< ) làm tui tự hỏi hong lẽ đờn ông hồi xưa ấy gặp con gái nhà người ta là trong đầu chỉ xuất hiện mỗi mục đích là thịt người ta?! Một số chuyện tui thấy tình tiết rất kiên cưỡng, đơn giản đến dễ dãi trong cốt truyện.Cũng may có một vài câu chuyện có năng lực cứu vớt toàn bộ tác phẩm. Như "Mũi dao Kinh Kha", "Thanh Mai", "Thục Phán", "Vợ dữ hơn cọp", "Báo ứng trước mắt", "Phiên chợ giữa biển". Các câu chuyện này mang một vài ý nghĩa nhân văn nhất định về cách đối nhân xử thế giữa người với người, tình nghĩa vợ chồng con cái son sắt gắn bó, sự hi sinh vì người khác và lời răn đe con người về các quả báo nhẵn tiền. "Ác giả ác báo". Còn lại các câu chuyện khác làm tui thất vọng toàn tập và khó mà nuốt nổi vì nội dung nhạt nhẽo, gượng ép, sáo rỗng như "Liên Hương", "Bạch Thu Luyện", "Cởi truồng rượt ma", "Một nhà đĩ chồn", "Cô Tân thứ mười bốn", "Hoa Cô Tử", "Liên Tỏa"...ôi thôi kể quài ko hết. Nói chung là có thể Liêu trai chí dị ko có tệ như tui nói nãy giờ, vì dù sao đi nữa nó vẫn là một kiệt tác của Trung Hoa như phần giới thiệu sau bìa sách: Nhiều người bảo là Liêu Trai là truyện thần quái dị đoan, có lẽ chỉ nghe nói mà chưa đọc qua bao giờ. Hay là có đọc nhưng không ngẫm nghĩ nhận xét...Liêu trai hay cả truyện lẫn văn, không lạ gì nó được truyền tụng xưa nay, coi như một bộ đoản thiên tiểu thuyết đặc sắc nhất của Trung Quốc.Chẳng riêng ở Á Đông, nhiều nước Âu Mỹ đã có bản dịch từ lâu. Một nhà phê bình không ngần ngại viết rằng:"nhiều chuyện trong Liêu trai có giá trị làm bài học tu thân xử thế, há phải là loại đọc tiêu khiển cho người hiếu kỳ mà thôi.Nhưng mà với tui, có lẽ sự vỡ mộng đã phóng đại nỗi thất vọng của tui lên tới cực đại luôn. Tui ráng hết 9.5 phần công lực mới đọc hết được cuốn này. Đọc xong thấy hối tiếc vì đã mua và tui bik tui sẽ ko đọc lại cuốn này lần thứ 2 :((( chắc luôn!

  • Nancy Oakes
    2018-10-25 21:33

    According to John Minford (whose translation in the Penguin edition of some of these strange tales is my preferred translation of this book: Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio), what readers are about to experience here are "longer stories with complex plots, often involving relationships between men, fox-spirits and ghosts, sometimes interweaving the events of several incarnations. Then there are a large number of medium-length tales dealing with a variety of themes: the foibles of spiritual or alchemical pretension, both Buddhist and Taoist; the workings of illusion and enlightenment; and the ways of human vanity and corruption in general. These are interspersed with brief accounts of strange phenomena (earthquakes, hail-storms, mirages), of unusual skills (rare sorts of kungfu, mediumistic skills -- genuine or otherwise) -- strange performances with animals, obsessions with snakes; descriptions of unusual varieties of bird, fish, turtle and alligator, of magical stones, bags and swords; and tantalizing evocations of the transience of life, of strange tenants and abandoned halls." (xiii-xiv),a perfect description of what's between the two covers. I did sort of flit between the Penguin and the Tuttle editions while reading this book -- as grateful as I am to Herbert A. Giles for his outstanding scholarship (and for also giving me a great start in trying to understand classical Chinese well over a decade ago), his version of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio has much less to offer than Minford's. Minford breathes life into the stories he's translated while Giles' version ends to be a bit on the dry side; there are also some big differences in the translations themselves. I found myself going back to the original Chinese more than once to try to sort things between the two English versions and decided I preferred Minford when all is said and done. I love Chinese classical works and this one with its focus on the strange made me a seriously happy person while reading. It's not a book you can read in one sitting, and it's certainly not one to speed read because there is so much at work here within each story that needs time and thought to try to suss out what's really happening. I leave you with some excellent advice from nineteenth-century commentator Feng Zhenluan who says the following (as quoted in Minford) about reading Strange Tales From A Chinese Studio which I found helpful:"Read these tales properly, and they will make you strong and brave; read them in the wrong way and they will possess you. Cling to the details, and they will possess you; grasp the spirit, and you will be strong."http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2017...

  • Jesse Field
    2018-11-13 00:50

    This is the kind of book that, when read carefully, can transform the English reader from perfect ignorance of Chinese culture to nerd-like engagement with aesthetics, society, history, mythology, folklore, science, medicine, technology, and the list goes on and on. It's really worth remembering how powerful a single book can be, and if you think about the variety and range of this book, you begin to understand why Chinese writing so often comes in anthologies and collections.I'll likely return to this book again and again, both for personal benefit and to assign to my students. Just today I re-read the story "Twenty Years a Dream" (Pu Songling's original title was "Locket" 连锁, which is the name of the ghost girl).

  • Laurie
    2018-11-08 01:35

    Sublime. With every story I read I found myself immersed in the rich life and thought of Ming dynasty China. Here we meet fox spirits, Taoist monks versed in the art of alchemy, magic implements, beautiful women possessed by the ghosts of the recently departed and vexed lovers. Unlike ghost stories in the western tradition, these tales are designed to engage, entertain and enlighten the reader; not scare us. Short tales contain get depth of insight into the human condition and psychology. Minford's deft translation of the 104 (of an original 500) tales reads with a clarity and cadence that must surely reflect the beauty of classical Chinese. Illustrations, an outstanding introduction by the translator, glossary, bibliography and extensive background notes on most tales add to fullness of the reading experience.

  • Vu K
    2018-10-21 19:40

    Không biết là lần đọc này là lần thứ mấy. Chỉ nhớ những lần trước thì đọc chăng hay chớ, lúc đọc truyện này lúc lại đọc truyện khác trong tập. Mà là quyển khác, thường thấy Chu Văn giới thiệu, nhưng nay đọc bản này - do Đào Trinh Nhất dịch, thì đoán bản trước kia vẫn đọc là do Tản Đà Nguyễn Khắc Hiếu dịch. Không nhớ là đã đọc từ đâu chí cuối tập do Tản Đà dịch hay chưa. Nhưng trong trí nhớ thì là đó là tập truyện về ma quái, hồ (tức là chồn) và thần tiên, thấy cũng thú vị. Nay lần đầu đọc toàn tập do Đào Trinh Nhất dịch, nhưng như giới thiệu Đào Trinh Nhất mới chọn dịch 50 truyện làm một quyển và dự định sẽ làm tiếp 3 quyển nữa thì hoàn tất, nhưng công việc mới đến đây thì Đào Trinh Nhất đã mất. Mới đây Cao Tự Thanh có dịch lại toàn bộ, có lẽ đọc xong tập này lại tìm đọc bộ do Cao Tự Thanh dịch vậy, cho đầy đủ. Bởi đọc bản dịch này của Đào Trinh Nhất mới rõ thêm về tác giả Bồ Tùng Linh, tức là thuộc kiểu gần như bất đắc chí ở đời, nên không chọn cách học khoa cử, mà thiên về như trong sách nói là cổ văn. Nên những truyện ma quỷ, chồn, thần tiên là gửi gắm những suy nghĩ về tác giả về cuộc sống, chứ không đơn thuần là chuyện hoang đường, thấy thấm thía được nhiều điều. Như khi lớn tuổi mới bắt đầu đọc lại một cách nghiêm túc, cẩn thận Kiều của thi hào Nguyễn Du vậy. Mình sẽ so quyển này với Kiều, hay Dante, Faust tuy thể loại và cách thể hiện, câu chuyện về căn bản là khác nhau.Và hy vọng quyển đang bắt đầu - Mười ngày (Decameron) của Boccaccio cũng thuộc loại tương tự.

  • Justin Evans
    2018-11-05 21:52

    I've been reading a lot of "difficult" books recently, and a few short books that just weren't very good. Amid that pile, Pu's tales were a glorious reminder of why people enjoy telling stories, why people enjoy reading them, and how many different ways something can be interesting. Short of listing the best stories here, there's not much to review. THere are supernatural tales (ghosts and 'foxes'); there are little anecdotes; there are morality tales; there are anti-morality tales; and most of all there's a kind of joy I just don't get from a lot of contemporary books. I've been recommending this to all of my meat-space friends since I finished reading it. Now I recommend it to my interwebby friends on goodreads: anyone who likes to read will love this book.* As a special bonus, you'll learn a bit about Imperial era China. As a super-extra-special bonus, the editor/translator includes illustrations from a nineteenth century Chinese edition of the text. They are fabulous. * caveat: this is a book written by a lonely scholar for other lonely scholars, all of whom are men. There's a lot of lady-love wish-fulfillment. It's unfortunate.

  • Grady McCallie
    2018-10-23 02:54

    Pu Songling (1640 - 1715) collected these tales of the supernatural and uncanny and left them to his sons in the form of 110 handwritten, loose-leaf sheets. They have since been published many times, with additions and deletions, and been drawn upon by other authors (and playwrights, and television script-writers) for plots and plot elements. This edition uses Herbert Giles' translation of the late 1800s, complete with his extensive footnotes offering commentary, but updates spellings to reflect the currently-favored Pinyin system. Giles' notes are themselves an artifact now, half illuminating, half hopelessly chauvinist. The tales are wonderful, involving fox people, dreams, trips back and forth to the afterlife/underworld, just deserts, rewards for long-suffering love or virtue, and inexplicable tragedies. These are not ghost stories in a western, gothic sense; just tales of the fantastic, with the implicit promise that, for better or worse, bizarre events may unfold anywhere, at any time. Most of the stories are not long, but altogether, the collection is dense, and reading a few at a time, it took me over a year to work my way through.

  • Horace Derwent
    2018-11-09 02:51

    《聊齋誌異》的經典選篇,而非全集nicely terpedalthough the selected stories are not in the round(you know, at that time, the terp translated this directly from classical chinese, it was so hard, absolutely much more harder than reading old english, such as BEOWULF, for me), but it still gave me a fresh experience, and it looks like an omnibus of kwaidans with the illustrations inside

  • Larou
    2018-11-06 21:54

    Classical Chinese literature obviously does not consist solely of the Six Great Novels, and I wanted my reading project to also include some shorter (but not necessarily minor) books. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio was my first attempt at a canonized work which is not a several thousand pages long, and overall I enjoyed it, if not quite as much as the novels, which I strongly suspect is due to more getting lost in translation.Pu Songling’s work is written in “classical” Chinese as opposed to the “vernacular” of the novels. Not knowing any Chinese at all, I have not the faintest clue what the implies, but according to the translator of the edition I have read, John Minford, the former is highly elliptical and allusive, while the latter is much more straightforward. The tales in this volume often rely heavily on references to other works, and are often oblique in their allusions – a Chinese gentleman reader of the 17th century would probably have caught them easily, but a modern day Western reader is quite lost and has to rely on annotations. John Minford thankfully supplies a generous amount of those (as well as a highly informative introduction), but it still is not quite the same – the whole situation is rather reminiscent of Plum in a Golden Vase – and in fact, Strange Tales shares another trait with that novel, namely that it is very frank about sexuality; the sex is not as explicit, but it occurs rather more often.When I was starting with this, I was expecting a Chinese version of Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book, but what I got instead was a Chinese version of Hebel’s Kalendergeschichten with added supernatural elements (and more sex). Which, as I hasten to add, is not a bad thing at all. The stories in this volume (104 in all, a selection from the original) are all short to very short (I don’t think there is a single one above twenty pages) and vary in nature, from didactic morality tales over ghost stories to reports of strange occurrences like you’d find them in the Miscellaneous section of your newspaper (if it was published in 17th century China, that is). And there is, of course, cannibalism – I guess no piece of Classical Chinese literature would be complete without it. Some tales I found delightful, some left me scratching my head, some were amazing, some plain bizarre, some I got, some left me baffled – in short, this collection is very much like the notorious box of chocolates, you never know what you will get.Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio is best read one or two tales at a time, so that each piece has space and time to unfold its own peculiar charm. Another trait this collection shares with chocolates is that too many ingested at once will spoil your stomach, and that while they are delicious, they are not particularly nourishing. Only maybe half a dozen stories felt like they’d make any lasting impact, the rest, while a pleasant diversion, also seemed somewhat shallow. Which may be because of the shortness of the tales, but I’m more inclined to blame it on them being translations. John Minford’s translation does appear to be a good one (as far as i can tell not knowing the original), but translations can only do so much; and if a work which depends as much on nuances and wordplay (not to mention the occasional double entendre) as Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio appears to do, then it will unfailingly be bound in its original language and any translation, no matter how good, will only give a blurry, washed-out reproduction of the original’s splendour. Even so, just for the glimpse it grants us, it is well worth reading translations. And who knows, readers might find themselves motivated to actually learn the language of the original…

  • tom bomp
    2018-11-07 18:41

    Lots of fun stories. The most notable theme is sex with fox spirits although there's a good variety of stuff too, with varying morals and conclusions even when the set-up is pretty similar. There's nothing here that made me think "woah that's amazing" hence the 4 star but I enjoyed reading every single story here - there's a lot of cool ideas and overall there's an amazing and absorbing atmosphere that really takes you into the world of the Chinese studio.The Penguin edition I was using has very helpful notes and a good glossary that help you understand the setting for each story as well as pointing out allusions to classic Chinese literature - although I'd note it relies notably on 19th century sources and stuff quite a bit, dunno how some of the explanations of concepts stand up to modern scholarship. 1 story adds the commentary which is apparently standard in the full original Chinese editions.

  • Edward
    2018-11-04 01:38

    AcknowledgementsIntroductionNote on the Text, Translation and IllustrationsNote on Names and Pronunciation--Homunculus--An Otherworldly Examination--Living Dead--Spitting Water--Talking Pupils--The Painted Wall--The Troll--Biting a Ghost--Catching a Fox--The Monster in the Buckwheat--The Haunted House--Stealing a Peach--Growing Pears--The Taoist Priest of Mount Lao--The Monk of Changqing--The Snake-Charmer--The Wounded Python--The Fornicating Dog--The God of Hail--The Golden Goblet--Grace and Pine--A Most Exemplary Monk--Magical Arts--Wild Dog--Past Lives--Fox in the Bottle--Wailing Ghosts--Thumb and Thimble--Scorched Moth the Taoist--Friendship Beyond the Grave--Karmic Debts--Ritual Cleansing--The Door God and the Thief--The Painted Skin--The Merchant's Son--A Passion for Snakes--A Latter-Day Buddha--Fox Enchantment--Eating Stones--The Laughing Girl--The Magic Sword and the Magic Bag--The Devoted Mouse--An Earthquake--Snake Island--Generosity--The Giant Fish--The Giant Turtle--Making Animals--The Little Mandarin--Dying Together--The Alligator's Revenge--Sheep Skin--Sharp Sword--Lotus Fragrance--King of the Nine Mountains--The Fox of Fenzhou--Silkworm--Vocal Virtuosity--Fox as Prophet--This Transformation--Fox Control--Dragon Dormant--Cut Sleeve--The Girl from Nanking--Twenty Years a Dream--Mynah Bird--Lamp Dog--Doctor Five Hides--Butterfly--The Black Beast--The Stone Bowl--A Fatal Joke--Raining Money--Twin Lanterns--Ghost Foiled, Fox Put to Rout--Frog Chorus--Performing Mice--The Clay Scholar--Flowers of Illusion--Dwarf--Bird--Princess Lotus--The Girl in Green--Duck Justice--Big Sneeze--Steel Shirt--Fox Trouble--Lust Punished by Foxes--Mountain City--A Cure for Marital Strife--A Prank--Adultery and Enlightenment--Up His Sleeve--Silver Above Beauty--The Antique Lute--Waiting Room for Death--Rouge--The Southern Wutong-Spirit--Sunset--The Male Concubine--Coral--Mutton Fat and Pig Blood--Dung-Beetle Dumplings--Stir-FryAuthor's PrefaceGlossaryMapsFinding ListFurther ReadingNotes

  • the gift
    2018-10-31 20:30

    fascinating short short tales from the late 17th-early 18th century China. possibly more interesting as anthropology/sociology than purely literary. as folk tales resemble 'fairy tales' of western history. cultural differences: living and dead worlds resemble eg. bureaucracy, magistrates, judges, merchants, scholars, doctors, Taoist priests; family very important: filial/nonfilial responsibilities and effects, husbands, wives, rich rewards, poor punishment, 'fairies' role taken by amoral, friendly, tricky, foxes. 164 short stories. older translation (tr died 1935), cultural notes, appendices... perhaps best not read all at once as plots may blur. popular fiction, fantastic interventions, realist focus on human foibles, human generosity to spirits, foxes, ghosts, previous lives, all rewarded...

  • D. Biswas
    2018-11-06 20:40

    One of the books that I've been carrying in my handbag and also in my head is Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling in the 17th century.Reading these stories allows you to get lost in a supernatural world where fox-spirits are not uncommon, ghosts roam around in the light of day, and Taoist exorcists save innocent victims from all kinds of evil forces. I've thought of foxes as cunning, because most other legends make them out to be so...but it is fascinating how they are seen as evil spirits in these Chinese stories.The author has a very dry sense of humor, and I love the satire of some of the pieces. I'm sure a lot of the power of the texts has been lost in translation, but what has come through is also very strong indeed.The stories are available online, and I've been lost in their magic world of demons, fairies, men and women overcome by lust, and in some (rare) cases, love. The stories also feature holy men, all kinds of animals, birds, and trees...all with lives and voices of their own, as well as the Underworld.The characters are very realistic, and their human frailties very well contrasted with their exotic setting. I've been whiling away a whole lot of time reading these 500 stories/ vignettes, and even more fascinating are the notes supplied for the interested reader at the end of the book, which discuss a lot of the myth, provide analyses, and offer opinions as to why certain biases colored Chinese folklore of the time.

  • Mizuki
    2018-11-01 22:41

    It is a book I read as a child, and many of the famous tales from Strange Stories From A Chinese Studio still stay in my mind, always.Pu Songling created an exquisite, imaginative fantasy world based faithfully and richly on the traditional Chinese myths and folklore. It is a world inhabited by gods, ghosts, demons, magical animals and humans. In one of the tales, a man fell in love with a beautiful maiden painted on the wall of an ancient temple; in another tale, a man put on a magical robe and shapeshifted into a raven and lived a far happier life than the old life he had as a mortal. There are many, many more for readers to discover.There are romance, comedies, moral tales as well as thrillers among the Strange Stories. I'd recommend everyone to try this remarkable book.

  • Vishy
    2018-11-12 22:33

    This year I wanted to read more Chinese classical literature. Started with Pu Songling's collection of stories. This is a collection of fairytales / ghost stories for grownups. Many stories involve the main character, who is a scholar, who falls in love with a beautiful woman, but who turns out to be a ghost or a fox fairy or flower fairy. In many stories, the beautiful woman loves our scholar back, they get married and have children and live happily everafter :) It is the kind of ghost story that I have never read before. Very interesting and fascinating!

  • Dũng Nguyễn
    2018-11-10 20:45

    Cuốn sách này mình đọc đã lâu, từ lúc còn nhỏ trên trên tv chiếu phim "Truyền Thuyết Liêu Trai" trong khung giờ trưa, và quyết định xin mẹ mua cho bộ này.Hồi tưởng lại, đây là một cuốn sách hay, dạng như truyện cổ tích Andersen hay Grimm phiên bản Trung Quốc, trong truyện có rất nhiều sự tích đa phần về tình người mà mình (và mẹ) rất thích đọc.

  • 선 하
    2018-11-09 01:37

    Khoan hãy bàn về bản dịch tiếng Việt do ai dịch hay, ai dịch trần trụi ...Với Liêu trai thì mình lại đặc biệt mê phim, say mê đặc biệt những bộ phim xưa cổ, những bộ trang phục áo chéo đậm tính cổ truyền của Trung Quốc hơn 200 năm trước đây (truyện xuất bản ~ 1740), các ô cửa sổ, căn nhà với lối kiến trúc cổ, lồng đèn, nghệ thuật uống rượu, không gian bao trùm ảo não thê lương ma mị, cái bất lực chỉ có thể dựa vào sức lực, sự lao động và vận mệnh của con người ..[link phim tiếng Trung Quốc bản cũ tại đây https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx73b...Phim thuyết minh tiếng Trung Quốc, mà là phim xưa chứ phim ngày nay mới quá hiện đại quá mất hay, mất đi cái ma quái cũ kỹ, chất liêu trai trong truyện.]Truyện thì đọc lâu rồi, hấp dẫn mình từ lúc U15 nhưng thuở ấy so với bây giờ (U22) thì đã có một sự BIẾN CHUYỂN trong nhận thức. Quả vậy, nhỏ thì ham theo kiểu truyện ma kì bí, tiếc là truyện lắm lúc bậy (17+) hoặc rợn người theo kiểu "Conan", nhân quả báo ứng. Tuy vậy, năm tháng qua đi suy nghĩ mình cũng khác.Đọc sử, học văn hoá, nghiên cứu thời cuộc thì mới thấy bộ truyện hoàn toàn là nỗi trải lòng bất lực và chán nản của Bồ Tùng Linh về xã hội phong kiến nhà Thanh lúc bấy giờ, nhân vật chính chủ yếu là những thư sinh trẻ tuổi, học mãi không đậu, một bồ đầy chữ, "yếu đuối" nhiều phen phải dựa vào các cô bồ hồ ly/ma nữ của mình, các đạo sĩ ... Đâu đâu cũng là bọn tham quan ô lại, ác bác cường quyền hà hiếp dân thường, nạn tham nhũng thì xuống đến cửa hoàng tiền, xuống dưới Âm Phủ cũng có, đến quỷ sứ cũng mê tiền. Và đề cao chính nghĩa, cái này thì người xưa hay coi trọng. Những ai mạnh bạo, gan góc anh hùng thì cảm động đến cả thánh thần. Cả nhân quả báo ứng, hòng răn đe người đời, đề cao tình nghĩa phu thê, lỡ hứa với cô nào mà thất hứa thì cô đó làm ma báo thù.Truyện có lẽ cũng phản ánh ước mơ của tác giả, một sự giải thoát về một cõi "không phải người" nhưng còn có tình có nghĩa hơn con người. .Nói chung các truyện của ông đều kết thúc có hậu, thức tỉnh nhân sinh. Tuy nhiên, bên cạnh lên án nạn tham nhũng khắp nơi, phác hoạ sự đa thê của chế độ hôn nhân xưa hay dựa vào một thế lực siêu nhiên ma mị nào đó trốn tránh thế giới đau khổ đời thường, truyện có đề cập đến khiá cạnh giáo lý nhà Phật, kiếp này kiếp sau, đầu thai, ở ác gặp ác (như trong tập Nồi GIấc Kê Vàng).Những truyện ngắn, truyện phụ nhảm nhảm thì mình đọc giải trí, đọc cho vui, còn các truyện chính thì mô típ giống nhau, cũng chẳng bận tâm phê bình hay dở làm gì, vì tác phẩm đã đạt một vị trí cao trong nền văn học Trung Quốc và thế giới.

  • Helmut
    2018-10-28 19:47

    A Chinese Ghost Story"Wer diese Geschichten des Liaozhai Zhiyi liest wegen ihrer Handlung und nicht wegen ihres Stils, ist ein Narr."So hart kommentierte ein chinesischer Gelehrter diese Sammlung von Geschichten, die Pu Songling am Ende des 17.Jh. in China gesammelt und aufgeschrieben hat.Nun bleiben die allermeisten westlichen Leser wohl Narren, denn der Stil, der diese Geschichten auszeichnet, kann natürlich nur schwer über eine Übersetzung transportiert werden: Gerade das klassische Chinesisch ist kaum so zu übersetzen, dass diese sehr eigene Schriftsprache so wie im Original wirkt.Doch trotz dieser Einschränkung ist auch die Handlung der 104 in diesem Band gesammelten Übersetzungen, einer Auswahl aus über 400, durchaus in der Lage, zu überzeugen. Wenn auch wenig gruslig oder unheimlich, sind die Geschichten meist doch bizarr und seltsam; neben den in chinesischer Literatur allgegenwärtigen Sukkubus-Fuchsgeistern geben sich auch Poltergeister, Gestaltwandler, Zauberer und anderes Gelichter ein Stelldichein, und so müssen die Stories auf die damaligen Leser wohl wie Akte-X-Folgen gewirkt haben.Die Geschichten schwanken zwischen einer halben und 10 Seiten in der Länge.Besonders hervorheben und loben möchte ich darüber hinaus die vorbildliche Aufbereitung: Anmerkungen zu historischen Persönlichkeiten und Kommentatorenhinweise erlauben ein tieferes Verständnis der so fremdartigen Welt. Insgesamt ist in dieser Penguin-Ausgabe der Apparat um den Text selbst herum sehr beeindruckend und umfassend; neben Anmerkungen sind Karten, ein Glossar, umfangreiche Literaturhinweise und ein detailliertes Vorwort vorhanden. Dazu kommen die Illustrationen: zu fast jeder Geschichte ist eine ganzseitige Reproduktion eines zeitgenössischen Holzschnitts vorhanden, der eine Szene der Geschichte illustriert.Die Übersetzung von John Minford gibt ihr bestes und liest sich flüssig und verständlich. Wer mehr lesen möchte, greift auf die vollständige deutsche Übersetzung zurück, die alle an die 500 Geschichten erzählt (Umgang mit Chrysanthemen).

  • Czarny Pies
    2018-10-23 18:53

    Over the last five years, I have made a point of reading one Chinese book every six months in order to familiarize myself with the culture of what is becoming a growing world power and the home nation of an increasing number of my neighbours. Reading Chinese literature even in translation requires a little bit of effort because the historical and social context are so different from what North Americans are familiar with.This delightful little book proved to be no chore at all. These tales are strange idea. They typically involve an impoverished young scholar who is repeatedly failing his exams for the imperial service and then becomes involved in a sexual liaison with a succubus of some variety such as a ghost, were-fox or flower spirit. Collectively these succubi are very sweet. They often help him pass his exams and usually support him in any subsequent marriage.This collection of stories offers themes that are familiar to Western readers. The benevolence of the succubi reminds one of the universe of ETA Hoffman where fantasy lovers are invariably superior to real ones. The fact the hero is invariably downtrodden and engaged in a futile effort to enter an inaccessible and unjust civil service recalls the dilemma of a Kafka hero trying to cope with the a modern civil service.I cannot say how appropriate these parallels are. Kafka is known to have read these tales and may indeed have stolen a few tricks from them. Hoffman had most certainly never even heard of them. What matters is that they will make these weird and wonderful tales accessible to you.

  • Mel
    2018-10-27 21:30

    Finished the first volume today. Some of the best Pu Songling stories are included, I think all the famous Fox stories are in this one. The classical Chinese is very difficult but the French isn't so bad.I took a big break between reading the first and second volumes of this. I'm not sure why. I adore these stories and this selection was some of the very best, but I think I had it in my head that it was "hard" and therefore even though I was enjoying reading them I was reluctant to do so. My comprehension of the French seemed to average between 40 and 85 percent depending on the story. Often I found that while the Chinese was very hard, I would recognise vocabulary words in the Chinese that I didn't know in the French that helped my understanding. Though when I was understanding the French well I found it hard to read the Chinese because I didn't want to slow the story down. For the stories that I didn't understand very well I would read a different English translation and then go back and re-read the bits I had trouble with and always found it easier the 2nd time around.I would definitely recommend this to people who can read French, it is one of the best selections of Pu Songling's stories that I've come across and the translations are very good.

  • Thanh Nguyen
    2018-11-06 19:24

    "- Có khách ở trước mắt, thật là khiến người ta vui sướng quên chết. Nhưng e cuộc gặp gỡ ngày nay, chỉ là giấc mộng thôi.""Ngoài ra biển cả khôn tìm nước,Nếu bỏ non Vu đâu có mây.""Lần khác, Bạch nói với chàng:- Quyển sách tôi đưa cho xem hôm nọ, chính là con đường bất lão, nấc thang lên tiên đó.Chàng cười:-Việc gấp của tôi không phải ở chỗ đó. Vả lại muốn được thành tiên, tất phải chặt đứt nhân duyên, để cho mọi niềm tơ tưởng đều tuyệt mới được. Khốn, nhưng tôi còn có tật đa mang, làm sao tu được?- Xin hỏi vì cớ gì- Vì cớ phải lo sinh con nối dõi.- Thế sao lớn tuổi vẫn chưa lấy vợ?- Bởi tôi có tật hiếu sắc.Chàng vừa nói vừa cười. Bạch cũng cười:- Chỉ xin ông chớ hiếu cái sắc tầm thường nhé! Và muốn hỏi cái sắc ông hiếu ra thế nào?Ngô đem hết câu chuyện Thái sử hứa gả con gái, nói cho Bạch nghe.""Ôi! Con người ta bất lương được mới nới cũ; rốt lại ổ vỡ mà chim cũng bay vụt mất, ông trời báo ứng một cách thảm độc lắm thay!"

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2018-11-11 21:29

    Kind of like a sixteenth century Chinese version of the Twilight zone. Lots of strange tales and vignettes infused with eery supernatural. This classic of Chinese literature loses a lot in translation I am sure if I knew Mandarin and was immersed in Chinese culture I would get a lot more of the references and word play but as it stands it is a bunch of spooky stories that are entertaining enough.

  • Eustacia Tan
    2018-11-07 21:37

    This book was recommended to me from the Overdrive app/NLB ebook site, which is the main reason why my TBR is growing uncontrollably the past few days. Given that I've read very little Chinese fairytales/folklore compared to Western and even Japanese tales, I really wanted to read this book.Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio consists of 164 tales from the 17th Century (I think? Author lived during that time) that involve supernatural creatures/occurrences and 4 appendixes.The appendixes are about:1. The Yuli Chao Zhuan (a term that seems to appear only in this book but looks to be about the 'chamber of horrors' in Taoist temples2. Cultural notes on ancestral worship, bi-location, dreams and much more3. The translator, Herbert Allen Giles4. Suggested readings.There are also pretty comprehensive and interesting footnotes, though sadly the book isn't formatted to allow for easy toggling back and forth (pity, especially since this is an ebook).As for the tales themselves, quite a few of them were very short and I didn't really get them. I did, however, really enjoy the longer tales, especially those about foxes (maybe because I have been writing about foxes?). Stories that I particularly enjoyed include:The Painted Skin: about a man who 'rescues' a beautiful girl only to find that she's hiding a very dark secretMiss Yingning; or, The Laughing Girl: a surprisingly happy storyThe Virtuous Daughter-in-Law: where a nagging mother-in-law learns to appreciate her daughter in law in a very painful lessonDanan in Search of his Father: where a family ended up being "reunited" in a way that completely changed the dynamics for the better.And more that I forgot to bookmark. And I have no idea if I should be providing full summaries with spoilers or doing these attempts at summaries that don't give away the ending :pWhile I generally enjoyed the book, it does have its flaws. It was first published in 1908 by a British national which means that the writing is a little stiff and at times uses very Western expressions like:"You better call in Yunqi, and tell the fair Eloisa that her Aberlard is awaiting her"Which feels very out of place given that these are Chinese stories set in China.Still, if you're looking for Chinese folklore to read, it's worth reading this at least once. Most (if not all) of the tales were new to me and I enjoyed reading through the book.P.s. There is one thing that I don't get. I'm not sure if it's a translation thing but in these stories, people remarry and concubines are bought and sold pretty easily and I'm wondering if this is so. It seems like the concubinage thing might be so but the remarrying thing seems odd, given my understanding of how Confucianism in ancient China worked (which is admittedly very little). Is there anyone familiar with ancient Chinese customs and can let me know more about this/recommend some reading material about it? I did try Googling but I couldn't find much about it.This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  • Amanda (Is Not a Panda)
    2018-10-25 19:41

    wild.

  • Mai Đức
    2018-11-06 23:24

    mượn chuyện xưa mà nói chuyện nay, những bài học về tình cảm gia đình cha con vợ chồng anh em, tình cảm bạn bè, tình người với người đều còn nguyên giá trị giáo dục thực tiễn. Tuy có nhiều chi tiết hoang đường kì ảo nhưng nhiều lúc cũng rất thật. Qua mỗi câu chuyện mỗi nhân vật như là một đối chiếu với chính mình để sống tốt hơn.

  • Letitia
    2018-11-04 18:27

    This really brought back memories of reading and watching TV adaptations of some of these 'fairy tales' in my childhood, e.g. The Painted Skin, The Magic Sword and the Magic Bag (better known as Nie Xiaoqian), and “That is a sharp sword!”. It also added many new ones to my collection, namely the unabashedly erotic ones, including a few surprising explorations of male sexuality (e.g. Silkworm on penis size, Fox Control on spirit-subduing sexual prowess, Cut Sleeve on homosexuality / pederasty).There were several stories that were conspicuously absent, though, like 王六郎 (about drowned ghosts, who form a staple of Chinese ghost stories). This selection from John Minford features only 104 stories out of the 491 original Strange Tales, and unfortunately the originals are written in a densely compacted Chinese prose that is too difficult for me to decipher, even with a dictionary, so I’ll have to find a vernacular Chinese version or wait for someone to translate the rest to English in order to complete my knowledge.Nevertheless, this edition managed to teach me a lot about Chinese ghosts, fox spirits, the occasional River God and other animal spirit, and there is a helpful glossary in the back. I also learnt that it was some kind of 17th-century Chinese male fantasy to have an unholy menage a trois with a fox spirit and a ghost.These being more in the genre of fairy tales and mythology, they don't offer much in the way of characterisation. Most of the protagonists are pretty ordinary men: they are lecherous (The Painted Skin, Fox Enchantment, Snake Island and countless more), greedy (Raining Money, Silver Above Beauty, Duck Justice), life-preserving a.k.a. cowardly, and in many ways simply mortal.But some of these stories bring us outstanding heroes, someone to really bite your nails for and thrill about: "The Merchant’s Son", "Grace and Pine", "The Magic Sword and the Magic Bag", “Ghost Foiled, Fox Put to Rout”, “The Southern Wutong Spirit”, etc. I enjoyed reading this and will definitely come back to it as a historical standard for Chinese folk tales and mythology.

  • Feiyu Yin
    2018-11-12 20:48

    余历四十余小时始方阅尽,而草草翻览者亦不在少数,何聊斋之文言生涩如斯也?较明代之著作尤胜,盖异史氏欲效太史公欤?古之狐祟人,轻者何其黠也!或毁其家具用私,或扬粪土于汤饼,不啻总角之恶作剧也!其害虽小,然主人亦不胜其烦。狐之志何在?余不明也。重者亦祸人匪浅!雄者化翩翩公子淫婢妾以采阴,婢妾惶而不知所措,雌者化绝世佳人媚主人而摄阳,主人忻而颠倒欲狂。虽敕勒不散,须以真情动之可遣。呜呼!盖狐之为修行亦极矣。愚以为小说者,塑人物者为上品,刻意求剧情之跌宕者则落下风。人物已塑,则剧情生焉,此乃经典之兆也。志异亦然,异事易得而异人难求也!聊斋志异虽近五百篇,然篇篇之间人物性格何其相似也!细归纳之,只存生,女,仙,翁,妪,婢,宰,无赖几人矣。生,文采不俗,而屡试不第。为人懦弱,逆来顺受。色胆却可通天,遇美貌女子则神魂颠倒,倘得无人之处则猴急而动手动脚。谋之不得,寝食具废,唯求速死也!吁!古之书生皆“情种”哉?余不信也!道貌岸然,表里不一,朝三暮四,投机取巧,生者可以休矣!其死也宜哉!若其存于世,余不愿过其家门也!女,秀外慧中,姿容绝代。倾心一人,坚贞不渝。持家侍翁姑从不懈怠。外表纤弱而内心刚强,遇事不惊,睿且梗。呜呼!女胜生者何其远矣!盖鲜花常插于牛粪而淑女常倾心挫人,我为世之女子一大哭!仙,法力无边,长生不老。飘飘然出世之态,然喜于无聊之时降红尘略施术法而show off,深谙“八卦”之道,常牵红线于鲜花牛粪间。翁,待子甚厉,凛凛然有严师之风,奈何往往早逝。妪,宠儿甚极,为尝子愿不择手段,往往得以善终。婢,女之侍者也,姿容逊于女而亦属丽者,常怀小三上位之心。宰,民之父母官也,善刮民脂民膏,断案则械梏加于民,致冤狱丛生。无赖,家贫如洗,人品低劣,赖诬讼讹金以谋生。余叹古之书生,淑女貌似羸弱,然逾垣越墙之技深黯矣!男子尤可原,何其二八佳丽,手无缚鸡之力者亦善此术哉?常于月黑风高之夜于公子同衾,闻人声则暴起,不知其何暇束裙带也。虽其面容绝美,体态风骚,念女纵身而越垣墙之姿,公子望尘而莫及之态,则淑女范尽殆矣,余宁其绊儿踣也!聊斋五百篇余独衷爱婴宁,偷桃,画壁,劳山道士,聂小倩,画皮,促织,喷水八则。婴宁,狐中之至纯者也。盖笑如婴者世之尚存哉?若得一友其笑若婴宁,神仙不啻也!偷桃者实此爷孙二人者乎?余观其举手投,谈笑自若真乃演技派者也,古今神乎其技莫出其右者!谁言画壁之说终属妄谈? 盖今日VR之技术非窃其创意欤?浪漫如崂山道士者世之罕有!噫!余若能拜其门下 而幸能与其推杯置盏于筵,观其月,赏其舞,虽终日斫薪无怨也!聂小倩,出淤泥而不染,为自由与爱情而无畏,倩女幽魂之赞不足以承其美也!其余几则亦属精品矣。余于闲暇亦志异一则,名曰”套路",聊以为戏尔。某生,某地人。一日挑灯夜读与室,忽一女子入,视之则二八丽姝,姿容绝美。拥之,不甚拒,遂与狎,极尽欢好。至此每夜必偕。终妻之。女持家操作甚勤,侍姑如母,母甚德之。逾年生一子。一日忽谓生曰:“今永别矣!”生问其故。答曰:“妾狐也,今与朗尘缘已尽。”遂出门而杳。生惆怅欲死,家愈贫。十年后,生窘极,遂卖田鬻房,然亦不足以维持,终延乞与市。忽一日视一女来,细观之,其妻也。女曰:“十年不见,朗何惨极如斯也?”生无言以对。遂予生千金,置房购田,居三四年,家益富,子十八岁入泮。异史氏曰:“blahblahblah”常见生词表:卺jin3: 瓢劬qu2: 过分劳苦俾bi3: 看门的瘳chou1: 病好了瘥chai4: 病好了悒yi4:不高兴伻beng1: 使者曩nang3: 之前夤yin2: 攀附怙hu4(依靠)恶不悛quan1(quan1)悔改睚ya2眦zi1必报瀹yue4:煮札zha2: 信件膺ying1:胸臛huo4:肉斫zhuo2: 砍捽zuo2:揪踣bo2:跌倒诮qiao4:讥讽稔ren3:成熟忻xin1:喜搴qian:拔浼 mei3: 污染 恳求醮jiao4: 古代婚娶时用酒祭神的礼:再醮(再婚);道士设坛念经做法事。舁yi2: 抬悴cui4: 忧伤愀qiao3: 变脸色遽ju4: 仓促酹 lèi 把酒洒在地上表示祭奠或起誓豕shi3: 猪媵ying4: 娶兖yan3州:地名 扃jiong1牖you3而居: 关门窗生活及笄ji1: 女子成年入泮:上学

  • Ensiform
    2018-11-10 18:29

    Translated by Denis C. and Victor H. Mair. This long collection of 51 tales from the 500s that Pu Songling accumulated all center around the supernatural: ghosts, werefoxes, and portentous dreams. Like Aesop's fables do with animals, these tales use the spirit world to demonstrate morals about the human world. Belligerent people (the Manchus) and corrupt officials are almost always Pu Songling's targets, although the tales also praise the qualities that make good marriages. Most of the morals stress the Chinese values of filial piety, learning, restraint, and forthrightness, although one or two, oddly, chastise the characters for loving books too much and not enjoying life enough. Despite the traditionally moral stance, the tales inevitably have very strong women characters (albeit supernatural ones), indicating Pu Songling's interest in breaking away from the restrictive feudal culture of his times. More than informative, though, the tales are fun to read, shocking sometimes in their graphic depiction of hell, lust, etc. Strange tales indeed.