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A Portrait of Five Dynasties China From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956)

ISBN: 9780199670680 | 0199670684
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 5/5/2013

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This book explores two collections of anecdotal memoirs to construct an intimate portrait of the first half of tenth-century China as seen by people who lived through those times. The author Wang Renyu's adult life coincided closely with that period, and his memoirs, though not directly transmitted, can be largely recovered from encyclopaedia quotations. His experience led from early life on the north-west border with Tibet, through service with the kingdom ofShu, to a mainstream career under four successive dynasties in northern China. He bore personal witness to some great events, but also travelled widely and transcribed material from a lifetime of conversations with colleagues in the imperial academy. His memoirs, nearly 80 of which are translated here,offer a characterization of an age of inter-regional warfare in which individual lives, not grand historical narrative, form the focus.


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