Feng Menglong's 'Treasury of Laughs'
A Seventeenth-Century Anthology of Traditional Chinese Humor
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 8, 2016 Carla Nappi
The Treasury of Laughs was compiled by Feng Menglong in the 1610s. It includes more than 700 humorous skits and jokes from elite and popular sources, rewriting some of them to give the volume a kind of aesthetic and stylistic coherence. Pi-Ching Hsu’s new translation Feng Menglong’s Treasury of Laughs: A Seventeenth-Century Anthology of Traditional Chinese Humour (Brill, 2015) makes the collection available for English-language readers in a volume that contributes to how we understand both early modern China and the history of humor. In the course of our conversation we talked about the craft and challenges of translation, Feng Menglong’s approach to morality, and the linguistic textures of the collection, among many other things. Pi-Ching was generous enough to read some of her translated jokes for us, so stay tuned until the end!