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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.
Raised and schooled in Bristol, followed by National Service in the RAF, Glen Dudbridge began his study of Chinese at Cambridge University, where he graduated as BA in 1962 and as PhD in 1967. He was Lecturer in Modern Chinese at Oxford University from 1965 to 1985; Professor of Chinese at Cambridge from 1985 to 1989; and finally Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford until retirement in 2005. He has held visiting posts in USA, at Yale and UC Berkeley, and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He became Fellow of the British Academy in 1984, and Honorary Academy Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1996.