First published in 1937.
The Book of Songs is a collection of ancient Chinese songs, dating from 800 to 600 B.C. Until this was published in 1937 it had not been translated into English since the middle of nineteenth century, when sinology was still in its infancy. For the first time the original meaning of 290 out of the 305 songs is given, use being made of the advances in the study of old Chinese. The result is not merely a clear picture of early Chinese life, but also the restoration to its proper place in world literature of one of the finest collection of traditional songs.
'Of all the translations the highest is Mr Waley's rendering of The Book of Songsit is a triumph of poetry and scholarship.' - The Observer
'Mr Waley is not only a scholar of immense learning not only a translator of exquisite sensibility... he seems not only to give new life to what is old, but atually to make something new.' - The Spectator