Library of Chinese Classics: Selections from Records of the Historian

Selected Records of the HistorianSelections from Records of the Historian in the three volume hardback book from Library of Chinese Classics. This books are in English and simplified Chinese and is a wonderful addition to any library. Selections from Records of the Historian was published by the Foreign Languages Press in 2008 and there are over 1200 pages.

Selections from Records of the Historian
Records of the Historian (also known as Records of the Grand Historian and Shiji) was written by Sima Qian in the Western Han Dynasty. The Records of the Historian was the first general history in the form of a series of biographies to appear in China. It records the history of China from the most remote past, the era of the legendary founder of the Chinese nation Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) in prehistoric China to the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. The book has 130 chapters, recording the progress of history by means of biographies of historical figures.

Records of the Historian has been renowned and followed by poets and novelists as Sima Qian critically used stories passed on from antiquity as part of his sources, balancing reliability and accuracy of the records. Sima Qian is diplomatic and has a way of accentuating the positive in his treatment of rulers in the Basic Annals and adding negative information into other chapters, and so his work must be read as a whole to obtain full information.

Selections from Records of the Historian is part of Library of Chinese Classics and there are over 80 books in the series so far. Library of Chinese Classics is a ‘mirror’ format which means that there is a page of Chinese followed by a page of English. As they are bilingual, the books are extremely suitable for Western readers interested in Chinese culture, people learning Chinese and native Chinese readers who want to read an accessible version of the classics. Since their publication, they have been immensely popular and Library of Chinese Classics has also been translated into Spanish, French, German, Russian and Arabic.