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  • Mirage


An Anonymous Novel

Translated by Patrick Hanan

English , 2016/06 Calligrams Series The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Fiction, Literature, Calligrams Series

216 x 140 x 28 mm , 492pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-996-662-1

  • US$19.95

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Mirage is a key work from the critical period of the early nineteenth century. It resembles a modern-day R-rated movie, touching on serious issues but containing scenes of explicit sexual pleasure and violent conflict.”—Keith McMahon


First published anonymously in 1804—its author remains unknown—Mirage is set in Guangzhou (Canton), some decades before the city was overwhelmed by the opium trade and the Opium War. Su Jishi, the adolescent son of the head of the Chinese traders’ association, the men licensed to deal with foreign merchants in the port, is suddenly burdened with responsibility for his powerful family after his father’s

unexpected death. More interested in sex than money, Su Jishi learns to navigate between pleasure and commerce, as rebellions erupt just outside the city.

At the crossroads of two of the greatest Chinese books—the aristocratic coming-of-age novel, The Story of the Stone (The Dream of the Red Chamber) and the military epic Outlaws of the Marsh—Mirage is panorama of libertines and concubines, lecherous monks and celibate soldiers, corrupt officials and drunken scholars. As entertaining as a bestseller, it is a hectic recreation of vanished mores and customs, and the life of a Chinese city as it was beginning to discover—and deal with—the rest of the world.

Patrick Hanan (1927–2014) was Victor S. Thomas Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University. He was the author of The Chinese Short Story, The Chinese Vernacular Story, and The Invention of Li Yu, and the translator of many works of late imperial Chinese fiction, including The Sea of Regret and the cult classic, The Carnal Prayer Mat.

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