Renditions no. 58 (Autumn 2002)​

A miscellaneous issue featuring Chinese lyrics, excerpts from the late 19th-century novel Shanghai Demi-monde by Han Banqing, modern fiction by Ding Ling and Zhang Kangkang, and poetry by the Taiwan poet Chen Kehua.

155 pages


Table of Contents

Editor’s Page 5
A Silver Treasury of Chinese Lyrics: a Preview
Edited by Alice W. Cheang
Alice W. Cheang Introduction 7
Wei Zhuang Priestess of Taoist Mysteries (No. 1)
Translated by Michael Farman
Priestess of Taoist Mysteries (No. 2)
Translated by Michael Farman
Ouyang Jiong The South Country
Translated by Mark Francis
River Town
Translated by Mark Francis
Li Yu Waves Scour the Sands
Translated by David Hawkes
The Beauteous Lady Yu
Translated by David Hawkes
Yan Shu Willow by the Hillside Pavilion
Translated by Stephen Owen
Ouyang Xiu Riverbank Faery
Translated by Teresa Yu with David Lunde
A Southern Song
Translated by Teresa Yu with David Lunde
Liu Yong Jade Butterfly
Translated by Edwin A. Cranston
Empty the Cup
Translated by Edwin A. Cranston
Zhou Bangyan Youthful Diversions
Translated by Julie Landau
Lu You Partridge Weather
Translated by D. E. Pollard
Night Revels in the Palace
Translated by D. E. Pollard
Xin Qiji Song of Zhu Yingtai
Translated by Michael Farman
Feasting the Bridgegroom
Translated by Alice W. Cheang
Dai Fugu Pure Serene Music
Translated by Philip Watson
Jiang Jie Feasting the Bridgegroom
Translated by Alice W. Cheang
Zhang Yan High Mount Yangtai
Translated by Mary M. Y. Fung and David Lunde
Fragrance Fills the Courtyard
Translated by Mary M. Y. Fung and David Lunde

———— Plum Blossom and Snow: Three Ci Poems
Translated by Eva Hung
Lu You: The Fortune Teller 42
Chao Buzhi: Salt Crystals 44
Nara Singde: Picking Mulberry 46
———— A Tale of an Infatuated Woman
Translated by Mark Stevenson and Wu Cuncun
Han Bingqing Shanghai Demi-monde: Chapters I and II
Translated by Eileen Chang and Eva Hung
Ding Ling A Bullet Never Fired
Translated by T. M. McClellan
Zhang Kangkang The Peony Garden
Translated by Daniel Bryant
Chen Kehua Four Poems
Translated by Simon Patton
this life cage
gazing into the distance one autumn day
a dream of one fine day
Notes on Authors 145
Notes on Contributors 150
Book Notices 154

Sample Reading

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Lu You
To the Tune ‘The Fortune Teller’
                      Plum blossoms
Translated by Eva Hung

beside a broken bridge

by a post station

a fragrance untended

and solitary

grieving in the dusk

laden with loneliness

and whipped by wind and rain

not for it the bitter strife

of springtime glories

envy of the myriad flora

concerns it not

fallen, mingled with dust

crushed into mud

the fragrance yet lingers on











A Bullet Never Fired: excerpts
By Ding Ling
Translated by T. M. McClellan


‘THAT’S nonsense, Child! There’s no need to be afraid, you can tell me the truth, I’m just an old widow, what harm can I do you?’

A toothless old woman, a few strands of her thin white hair escaping from her black headscarf to hang loosely over her forehead, wearing ragged old padded clothing and leaning on a walking stick made from a branch, was looking warmly and kindly at the child standing before her in panic and alarm, dressed in tatters and without even a hat. The woman’s puckered lips quivered into life again as she said with a smile, ‘You’re… uh-huh, I know….’

The child was about thirteen years old, his clever bright eyes darting around as he hesitated, watching the old woman’s face, thinking she looked friendly and honest. Then he looked again across the boundless plain: not a soul, not so much as a tree could be seen. The sun had already gone down and wisps of evening mist were gently rising from the horizon, obscuring the high road as it stretched far off, endlessly. This high road carried his hopes, too, far into the distance, and now they too were becoming misty. He turned round again and measured the old woman with his eye once more. Then he repeated his question again: ‘You really know nothing at all?’

For the first few years after his return to the city, Ma Rong would always lay out an extra pair of chopsticks and a flask of liquor on that day; he would light incense, face the Northern sky and offer a toast to Niu Ben. Later he couldn’t be bothered any more, but he didn’t think Niu Ben would mind.

‘No,’ she replied. ‘I haven’t heard any gunfire, and I haven’t seen anyone either. It was back in the spring that the Red Army passed this way. Now those comrades were really good. They stayed three days and sang songs and told us stories. We killed three goats and they insisted on giving us eight dollars, silver ones, so shiny they were! Then the Manchurian army came along…. As for them, ai-ai…’ She shook her head and turned her gaze from the sky back to the boy’s face. ‘Come on, you’d better come back with me. It’s dark, where are you going to go? What if you fell into the hands of the other lot, huh?…’