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Wandering Spirits

Chen Shiyuan’s Encyclopedia of Dreams

Richard E. Strassberg (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 312 pages
ISBN: 9780520252943
April 2008
$85.00, £62.95
Dreams have been taken seriously in China for at least three millennia. Wandering Spirits is a translation and study of the most comprehensive work on dream culture in traditional China—Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation (Mengzhan yizhi), compiled in 1562 by Chen Shiyuan and periodically reprinted up to the modern era. The best introduction to the diversity of ideas held by the educated class about dreams, this unique treatise compiles various theories, Chen's own comments concerning the nature of dreams and their role in waking life, and almost seven hundred examples assembled from a wide range of literary sources. This annotated translation is accompanied by a full-length introduction that surveys the evolution of Chinese dream culture and the role of Chen Shiyuan and his encyclopedia.
Editorial Notes
Chinese Dynasties

lofty principles of dream interpretation by chen shiyuan
Preface 1

part i . The Inner Chapters
1. The True Controller
2. The Long-Willow Method
3. Day and Night
4. The Various Forms of Divination
5. The Disciple of Emptiness
6. The Sage
7. The Six Types of Dreams
8. The Ancient Methods of Interpretation
9. Auspicious Events
10. Influences and Abnormal Conditions

part ii . The Outer Chapters
1. Heaven
2. Sun and Moon
3. Thunder and Rain
4. Mountains and Rivers
5. Forms and Appearances
6. Food and Clothing
7. Utensils and Things
8. Valuables and Goods
9. Brush and Ink
10. Written Graphs
11. The Official Examinations
12. Gods and Strange Things
13. Longevity and Destiny
14. The Feng and Other Birds
15. Animals
16. Dragons and Snakes
17. Turtles and Fish
18. Plants and Trees
19. Reward and Retribution
20. On General Analogies

List of Sources
Index to Dream Narratives
Richard E. Strassberg is Professor of Chinese at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Inscribed Landscapes: Travel Writing from Imperial China and A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas (both from UC Press) among other books.
“An important scholarly endeavor.”—Choice
“This is . . . a fascinating insight into Chinese dream-culture, and the enormous number of examples collected here are worth having.”—Steve Moore Fortean Times: The Journal Of Strange Phenomena
"Wandering Spirits is a very valuable contribution to the history of Chinese dream lore and dream interpretation. Strassberg's polished translation makes available an important text previously available only to readers of Chinese."—Robert Ford Campany, author of To Live as Long as Heaven and Earth

"Richard Strassberg's translation and introduction to Wandering Spirits are masterful. The contents of this remarkable collection are highly diverse, and the author's lucid prose, imagination, skill, and diligence in explanation are to be celebrated."—Robert E. Hegel, author of Reading Illustrated Fiction in Late Imperial China

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