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An Introduction to Literary Chinese study propsal


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In the spirit of the series of threads based on Rouzer’s “A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese”, I am proposing a similar series for Fuller’s “An Introduction to Literary Chinese”.  I realise that this book has already been discussed here, but I’m interested in a more systematic approach like the thread per chapter that was used for NPPLC.  I think that this would be especially useful as, while Fuller’s book seems like a useful tool, I’m worried that without answers to the large number of questions he provides, I’m not going to get much out of it.


For anyone that has ILC (that’s the abbreviation we’ll be using) you’ll know that it’s set-up in four sections.  I’m suggesting we focus mainly on the second section (chapters 9-24).  This section contains ‘intermediate texts’ and each chapter includes questions on both grammar and content.  The texts are taken from familiar sources (史記, 說苑, 孟子, 莊子, 戰國策) and look like they even include some crossover with Rouzer – which means it will be interesting to see any differences in how the two authors treat the texts.  I think it would be great if each thread consisted of:


  • the original text
  • a discussion of its meaning
  • a discussion of Fuller’s commentary
  • any problems
  • answers to Fuller’s questions


I’ll provide below an example showing what the first post of the first thread would look like.


Fuller’s book is pretty grammar-focused.  I’ve made it through the first nine introductory chapters and I’ve already had to give up on fully understanding the more involved parts of Fuller’s analysis.  I will include the grammar-related questions that Fuller raises, but I will most likely ignore them in my responses, focusing instead on content based questions.  Obviously, any discussion in anyway related to the text would be very welcome.


So, is anyone interested?  Will anyone post?  Does anyone mind me throwing up another 16 threads for discussing short classical texts?  There wouldn't be any set timetable, just a series of threads that people can dip in and out of as they please.


This is what the first post would look like:






  1. Why did Duke Ping think Shi Kuang was making fun of him?  What does Duke Ping mean by ?  How does Shi Kuang interpret it?
  2. Explain the comparisons that Shi Kuang makes in the poem.



  1. Does modify , or is it a topic?  Discuss.
  2. Discuss the coordination of verbs in 欲學恐已暮.  Does the wording imply “and” or “but?”  What about 為人臣而戲其君?
  3. Is used as a coverb here?
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Since you've already gone through the last textbook, I think you should find a classical chinese text to read in its entirety, rather than another textbook! Pick something whose contents interest you and find a good annotated chinese edition of the text. It will be more challenging, and probably more intrinsically rewarding too! 


Plus it will be more interesting for us to read :P and I will be more likely to participate! 

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I'd be up for going through Wang Li's 古代漢語. 左傳 is already up* so it would be simple to just continue from there. Also it's a standard textbook that most people shouldn't have too much trouble getting access to. I know it's another textbook, but it's in Chinese so it would be a step up.



* and I randomly made a thread for an extract from 韓非子 but please forgive me, I was young and didn't understand

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I was originally planning on moving onto Wang Li's 古代漢語 once I'd finished with Fuller.  I don't have that book yet though - I'll look for it in a book shop so I can get an idea of how it's set-up.


The thing with the Fuller book is that I've already got it, and I've already read the first eight chapters.  As most of the chapters seem pretty short, I was thinking it would be possible to do two per thread (eight threads in total) and put up an average of one a week (about 2-3 months worth).


I do plan to move on to actual texts eventually evn108, but I'm worried that if I go too advanced too quickly, I'll just end up giving up.  My long term plan at the moment is:


1. Rouzer

2. Fuller

3. Wang Li

4. Relatively easy Classical Chinese text.

5. 莊子

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The Wang Li 左传 thread mentioned by mouse. Wang Li's 古代汉语 is a great book. Good for someone who's completed the entry-level classical Chinese textbooks.


左传 ( 王力 古代汉语 Wang Li Classical Chinese )

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It's not likely to be stocked at a brick-and-mortar bookstore, as it's hardly a bestseller.

Here's an Amazon link for the whole set, including the supplementary study guides.


古代汉语 校订重排本全4册+ 同步辅导与练习(上下2册)共6册本 王力 正版 古代汉语(校订重排本4普通高等教育十一五国家级规划教材) 平装 – 1999年

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I'm going to go ahead and start doing this.  I'll be doing two of them per thread and see what the response is.  If the first few don't get any responses then I'll probably just wait and try again with Wang Li's book once I've finished Fuller.


Please, anyone that has the time and inclination, make a contribution, whether large or small, it is all welcome.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was in the process of making a new thread for the next two chapters but I've come across a problem finding the exact versions of texts that Fuller uses online.  This isn't a big problem but there are additional 'commentaries' or 'gloss' in his versions which some of the questions are related to.  Does anyone know where I can find the same versions that he uses?  If not I'll just add the extra in myself, no big deal.

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