Catherine Swatek, University of British Columbia : Without question a significant contribution to the field. There is no textbook of this kind available. It provides the student with a comprehensive grammar of classical Chinese with clear and readable explanations in both English and modern Chinese. By fully utilizing both languages in one text, the authors of this Reader have created a teaching tool that will have wide appeal and applicability. The translations are accurate and felicitous.
Kimberly Besio, Colby College : This Reader addresses a huge gap in Chinese language textbook offerings--that is, a basic introduction to Classical Chinese. It is far superior to previous such works: the texts reflect a more logical progression from simple structures to more complex ones, and the grammatical explanations are more structured and more detailed. The book also does an excellent job of reinforcing past patterns, and further serves as an introduction to Chinese culture and literature.
Classical Chinese: A Basic Reader is the most comprehensive and authoritative textbook on the language, literature, philosophy, history, and religion of premodern China. Rigorously and extensively field-tested and fine-tuned for years in classroom settings by three members of the Chinese Linguistics Project at Princeton University, it sets a new standard for the field.
Volume 1 contains 40 selections from texts written between the fifth century B.C. and the first century A.D., during which the classical Chinese language was fully developed and standardized. These passages, which express key themes in Chinese humor, wit, wisdom, moral conviction, and political ideals, are arranged in the order of complexity of the grammatical patterns they exemplify. Uniquely, each text is translated into both modern Chinese and English. Volume 2 contains a detailed glossary of unfamiliar terms and names found in Volume 1, and Volume 3 features detailed grammatical analyses, in which every sentence in the main texts is fully diagrammed to show the grammatical relations between their various parts.
Four supplementary volumes--an introduction to grammar, readings in poetry and prose, selected historical texts, and selected philosophical texts--will also be available for use in conjunction with the main, three-volume set. There are corresponding exercises for all the reading texts in the Basic Reader and in the supplementary volumes to review and reinforce classroom learning.
With Classical Chinese: A Basic Reader, Naiying Yuan, Haitao Tang, and James Geiss provide the definitive new resource for students and instructors of classical Chinese language or culture, one whose impact will be lasting.