Reviews 117 Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, Michael Nylan, and Hans van Ess. The Letter to Ren An & Sima Qian’s Legacy. Seattle & London: University of Washington Press, 2016. xi, 178 pp. Hardcover $40.00, ISBN 978-0-295-99544-1. This collection of essays by four prominent scholars presents an absorbing study of the issues raised in Sima Qian’s famous Letter to Ren An, the long cri de coeur that Ban Gu incorporated into his biography of Sima Qian in Hanshu. The Letter has often been seen as a key to understanding the historian’s frame of mind as he labored to complete his monumental Shiji. Questions linger, however, about its provenance, dating, and reliability—questions that are raised pointedly by two of The Letter to Ren An & Sima Qian’s Legacy’s four authors. This compact volume offers a timely engagement with these and other issues. The authors’ Introduction crisply summarizes the book’s purpose, and the detailed discussion of the letter that takes up the central chapters is helpfully framed by a full translation of the Letter to Ren An in chapter 1 and a collated version of the original Chinese text in an appendix at the end of the book. The polished, richly annotated
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 4, 2019
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