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- DescriptionOnly fragments of historical text from China's middle period have been translated into English, until w. Here at last is the first major Chinese historical work from the Song dynasty. Written by Ouyang Xiu, an intellectual giant of the eleventh century, this is a history of the preceding century (907-979), a period kwn as the Five Dynasties. The historical and literary significance of Ouyang's achievement cant be underestimated. In rewriting the existing official history of the Five Dynasties, Ouyang-whose own time was characterized by extraordinary intellectual and political invation-made several table decisions. He rewrote the history in the ancient style preferred by forward-thinking literati; he even rewrote the original documents quoted within biographies. He also relied on his own moral categories, reevaluating the worth of the historical figures in light of his own convictions that individuals should take personal responsibility for the fate of society. Ouyang's history would eventually become the official version-the last state-sanctioned dynastic history of imperial China to be written by an individual in a private capacity. In addition to its provocative insights and lucid presentation, Historical Records of the Five Dynasties is an eloquent statement on the art of historical writing in the eleventh century. A preeminent scholar of Chinese history, Richard L. Davis has provided a thorough introduction and rendered nearly two-thirds of the Chinese original into English, including complete sections critical to understanding the politics and personalities of the time. Biographical clusters based on Ouyang's moral categories also appear in full, helping readers to appreciate the Confucian agenda that informs the work.
- Author BiographyRichard L. Davis is Chair Professor of History at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His books include Wind Against the Mountain: The Crisis of Politics and Culture in Thirteenth Century China and Court and Family in Sung China, 960-1279.
- Author(s)Xiu Ouyang
- PublisherColumbia University Press
- Date of Publication11/02/2004
- SubjectRegional History
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintColumbia University Press
- Content Note5 maps
- Weight1271 g
- Width168 mm
- Height241 mm
- Spine44 mm
- Translated byRichard L. Davis
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