The Book of Odes

L. Cranmer-Byng

The Book of Odes, by L. Cranmer-Byng - click to see full size image

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The Book of Odes is a book of poetry translated by L. Cranmer-Byng, originally published in 1908. Part of the Wisdom of the East series, it contains just under forty short poems from the Book of Odes (Shih-ching), one of the Five Classics from ancient China, and the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry that is said to have been compiled by Confucius. The poems in this collection include: The Tower of Wan; The Slanderers; City of Chow; Prayer of Ching, I; Lady of the Lagoon; Through Eastern Gates; The Happy Man; The Nightlong Tryst; The Princes, and more. The Book of Odes, cherished as a Confucian classic from the Han Dynasty onward, has captivated generations of Chinese scholars who diligently studied and committed its verses to memory. Despite the seemingly straightforward themes of these poetic songs—often touching on humble, everyday topics—they have historically carried intricate allegorical significance. Each line was heavily laden with moral or political connotations, meticulously interpreting even the tiniest details. These widely-loved songs served as insightful windows into the challenges faced by ordinary folks, often deciphered as allegories; grievances expressed toward lovers were symbolically regarded as grievances against untrustworthy rulers.

Part of the Wisdom of the East series.

This book has 6,752 words, 44 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1908.

Production notes: This ebook of The Book of Odes was published by Global Grey on the 22nd November 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Peony Double Ribbon Scroll' by Yu Sheng.

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