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Reading Chinese Text

imageI chose to read the annotated Chinese translation of Twilight in the Forbidden City, originally written by Reginald Johnston, Puyi’s English Teacher from 1919 to 1923, because the translator does a great job to correct and clarify some of Johnston’s observations in hindsight. Johnston is privy to the inside workings of the corrupted imperial household that lived off extravagant allowance from the Republic of China under the privilege treaty after the Qing monarchy was overthrown. A keen observer and a close confidante of the young former emperor, Johnston depicts in vivid details the final years of monarchy before Puyi was evicted from the Forbidden City in 1924. I have a habit of mentally translating Chinese text in English as I read, grappling with the many Chinese terms that are not existent in English. It’s a rewarding brain exercise that shows me the versatility of both languages.

2 Responses

  1. Hi, I am wondering where do you usually buy your Chinese books? I am also living abroad (in UK) and I am having a hard time trying to get books in Chinese. I don’t go back to HK often so the only way to get some is either beg some of my friends in Hong Kong to get them for me, or buying on-line which is not cheap. By the way I have been reading your blog for years now and I believe this is the first time I am leaving a message!🙂

    • I just made a trip to Hong Kong and picked up these goodies. I visited some local independent bookstores and found many titles on contemporary Chinese literature.🙂

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