Deutsch  Français  Nederlands 

[THOM, ROBERT]: - ... Yishi Yuyan. Esop's Fables Written in Chinese by the Learned Mun Mooy Seen-Shang, and Compiled in their Present Form (With a free and literal translation) by His Pupil Sloth. Macao, Canton Press Office, 1840.

Folio. Pp. (ix), xxi, (iv), 104. With one lithographed plate of Chinese characters. Text in English, Chinese and romanizations in the Nanking and Cantonese dialects. Early 20th century cloth with original wrappers bound in. Small marginal repair to title (no loss). Rare first edition of Thom's translation of the Aesop's Fables into Chinese. It comprises 81 fables preceded by a long preface and an introduction about the written character of the Chinese. The short stories are printed in Chinese characters (wood block) accompanied by the pronounciation in Nanking (Roman letters) and Canton (italics) dialects respectively. Both according to Dr. Morrison's orthography. In another column a free English translation is given and beneath an English sense of the Chinese character. Robert Thom came to China in 1834 and worked for some years with Jardine Matheson at Canton. He was the official linguist during the First Opium war and participated as translator in the Treaty negotiations at Nanking. In 1843 he was appointed British consul at Ningbo. He dedicates this work to William Jardine, James Matheson and Henry Wright "by whose bounty the entire expense of his Chinese education was defrayed". According to the preface this translation of the fables were selected from various sources such as Phedrus, Avanius, Barlandus etc. Thom dictated the fables, in Manchu Chinese, to his native teacher Mum Mooy Seen-Shang who wrote them down in a simple style called "ts‹-luh", the lowest and easiest form of Chinese composition. The first specimen of the stories was published in 1837-8 and was well received by the Chinese. However "They had their run of the Public Courts and Offices - until the Mandarins - taking offence at seeing some of their evil customs so freely canvassed - ordered the work to be suppressed. ... The application was once perceived - and the justice of the remark admitted immediately" (Preface). The western tradition of using fables in education and preaching indirectly paved the way for their transmission to China. In the 17th century the Jesuits adapted and used the Aesop's fables in their Chinese sermonic works. The fables came to influence and challenge the traditional Chinese way of writing fictious stories that had always been based on true historical events. The Chinese translations of the Aesop's fables in the 19th century had elements of Chinese literature traditions mixed in the fables. (See Diss.: Wu, Pei-Lin "Aesop's fables in China, the transmission and transformation of the genre"). Cordier BS 1683. Lust 1065. See: Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India, China and Australasia. Vol. XXXVI - new series. Sept. - Dec. 1841. pp. 182-3.
EUR 14000.00 [Appr.: US$ 16270.35 | £UK 12274 | JP¥ 1782964] Book number 100757

is offered by:


Charlotte Du Rietz Rare Books (ILAB)
Sibyllegatan 50A, 114 43, Stockholm, Sweden Tel.: +46 (0)8 667 65 07
Email: charlotte@durietzrarebooks.com
Member of ILAB 




  Order this book

Ask for information

Back to your search results