This volume of judiciously selected and aptly translated works by Li Zhi provides clear glimpses of his mental landscape and the ambient world of late Ming thought.
The expert translators have revised hackneyed conventional interpretations of Li, enabling readers to form their own views of this early modern savant.
It was on one of these marathon phone calls that I found out about our junior high’s burn book which had appeared on an anonymous Xanga blog late Friday night, and had, by Sunday, been shared on the Xanga pages of nearly everyone in our class.
With limited and very monitored computer access, I’d missed the frenzied spread.
His tragic suicide culminated Li's life as a free thinker, but at the same time his enemies immortalized him as someone who had defrocked Ming autocracy of its elegantly woven orthodoxies.
Haun Saussy is University Professor at the University of Chicago.
The result was a series of heretical writings that caught fire among Li Zhi's contemporaries, despite an imperial ban on their publication, and intrigued Chinese audiences long after his death.
Translated for the first time into English, Li Zhi's bold challenge to established doctrines will captivate anyone curious about the origins of such subtly transgressive works as the sixteenth-century play The Peony Pavilion or the eighteenth-century novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
In this sophisticated translation, English-speaking readers encounter the best of this heterodox intellectual's vital contribution to Chinese thought and culture.
The editors and translators of this volume have masterfully rendered into English the works of the fascinating—and highly controversial—Li Zhi, who significantly impacted late Ming thought.