A History of Chinese Literature - Herbert Allen Giles 1973


What foreign students have achieved in the department of Chinese literature from the sixteenth century down to quite recent times is well exhibited in the three large volumes which form the Bibliotheca Sinica, or Dictionnaire Bibliographique des Ouvrages rélatifs à P Empire chinois, by Henri Cordier: Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1878; with Supplément, 1895. This work is carried out with a fulness and accuracy which leave nothing to be desired, and is essential to all systematic workers in the Chinese field.

By far the most important of all books mentioned in the above collection is a complete translation of the Confucian Canon by the late Dr. James Legge of Aberdeen, under the general title of The Chinese Classics. The publication of this work, which forms the greatest existing monument of Anglo-Chinese scholarship, extended from 1861 to 1885.

The Cursus Literatura Sinicœ, by P. Zottoli, S.J., Shanghai, 1879-1882, is an extensive series of translations into Latin from all branches of Chinese literature, and is designed especially for the use of Roman Catholic missionaries (neo-missionariis accommodatus).

Another very important work, now rapidly approaching completion, is a translation by Professor E. Chavannes, Collège de France, of the famous history described in Book II. chap. iii., under the title of Les Mémoires Historiques de Se-ma Ts'ien, the first volume of which is dated Paris, 1895.

Notes on Chinese Literature, by A. Wylie, Shanghai, 1867, contains descriptive notices of about 2000 separate Chinese works, arranged under Classics, History, Philosophy, and Belles Lettres, as in the Imperial Catalogue (see p. 387). Considering the date at which it was written, this book is entitled to rank among the highest efforts of the kind. It is still of the utmost value to the student, though in need of careful revision.

The following Catalogues of Chinese libraries in Europe have been published in recent years:—

Catalogue of Chinese Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Drawings in the Library of the British Museum. By R. K. Douglas, 1877.

Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist Tripitaka. By Bunyio Nanjio, 1883.

Catalogue of the Chinese Books and Manuscripts in the Library of Lord Crawford, Haigh Hall, Wigan. By J. P. Edmond, 1895.

Catalogue of the Chinese and Manchu Books in the Library of the University of Cambridge. By H. A. Giles, 1898.

Catalogue des Livres Chinois, Coréens, Japonais, etc., in the Bibliothèque Nationale. By Maurice Courant, Paris, 1900. (Fasc. i. pp. vii., 148, has already appeared.)

The chief periodicals especially devoted to studies in Chinese literature are as follows:—

The Chinese Repository, published monthly at Canton from May 1832 to December 1851.

The Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, published annually at Shanghai from 1858 to 1884, and since that date issued in fascicules at irregular intervals during each year.

The China Review, published every two months at Hong-Kong from June 1872 to the present date.

There is also the Chinese Recorder, which has existed since 1868, and is now published every two months at Shanghai. This is, strictly speaking, a missionary journal, but it often contains valuable papers on Chinese literature and cognate subjects.

Variétés Sinologiques is the title of a series of monographs on various Chinese topics, written and published at irregular intervals by the Jesuit Fathers at Shanghai since 1892, and distinguished by the erudition and accuracy of all its contributors.