The Drunken Man's Talk

Tales from Medieval China

Compiled Luo Ye
Translated by Alister D. Inglis

  • Published: 2015. Paperback March 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 238 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

This collection of short stories, anecdotes, and poems was likely compiled during the 13th century. Tales of romantic love-including courtship, marriage, and illicit affairs-unify the collection and make it an essential primary source for literary and social history, since official Chinese history sources did not usually discuss family conflict or sexual matters.

This volume, the first complete translation of The Drunken Man's Talk (Xinbian zuiweng tanlu) in any language, includes an introduction that explores the literary significance of the work as well as annotations explaining the symbolism and allusions found in the stories.
Alister D. Inglis is Freeman Associate Professor of Chinese Languages and Literature at Simmons College. He is the author of Hong Mai's Record of the Listener and Its Song Dynasty Context.

"These stories and anecdotes provide valuable information about marriage and sexuality in Song/Yuan society. The translator has done a remarkable job in rendering the text into readable English."
-James M. Hargett, translator of Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea

"An important contribution to the field. There are very few translations of biji xiaoshuo [anecdotal fiction] from the Tang, Song, and Yuan periods.The Drunken Man's Talk stands out because it offers a complete translation of a single collection, which offers insights into the compiler's interests and agendas, in particular, his selection, presentation, and arrangement of stories."
-Manling Luo, author of Literari Storytelling in Late Medieval China

Translator's Introduction

1. An Account of the Plowmen of the Tongue
2. A Legal Case Involving Illicit Love
3. Romantic Union
4. Women's Verse
5. Humorous Tales from a Precious Window
6. Veritable Records from the Red-light District
7. Records from the Red-light District
8. Humorous Quips
9. The Characteristics of Ladies
10. Poems About Ladies
11. Romantic Union
12. Extraordinary Encounters with Immortals
13. Virtuous Women of the Inner Quarters
14. Legal Cases Involving Witty Verdicts
15. Felicitous Trysts with Immortals
16. Broken Promises
17. Romantic Betrayal
18. Extraordinary and Predestined Meetings
19. Old Stories of Reunion 1
20. Old Stories of Reunion 2

Glossary of Chinese Characters

"This translation of Zuiweng tanlu deserves a larger audience beyond that of sinologists."
-Jacques Pimpaneau, T'oung Pao