Book of Songs (Shi-Jing)
A New Translation of Selected Poems from the Ancient Chinese Anthology
By James Trapp (Translator), Confucius (Author)
Believed by some to have been compiled by Confucius, the Book of Songs (or Shi-jing) is the oldest existing anthology of Chinese poetry, comprising 305 works dating from the 11th to 7th centuries BCE. Some feature shorter lyrics in simple language that reflects the voice of the common people—folk songs addressing love and courtship, political satire, and protest. Others focus on court life and dynasties, and nearly all the songs rhyme. This stunning dual-language edition features 32 of the most beautiful verses, including “Se Miu,” about a man exhaustedly working for the king, and “Odes Of Yong (Bo Zhou),” a melancholy love poem. In the same way that Homer’s epics took hold within the West, the Book of Songs’ influence extends beyond literature onto education, politics, and communal life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
James Trapp is the author of Chinese Characters: The Art and Meaning of Hanzi and has translated a new edition of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. He has also edited three titles in the Chinese Bound Classics series: Chinese Astrology, Chinese Proverbs, and Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing). A Chinese-language graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, he teaches Mandarin and is an Education Officer on the China Collection at the British Museum.