First published in 1956.
Arthur Waley here presents an engrossing account of the works and life of Yuan Mei (1716-1797), the best-known poet of his time. Gaiety is the keynote of his works and the poet was a friend of the Manchu official with whom Commodore Anson had dramatic dealings at Canton in 1743. Yuan Mei gives an account (not previously translated) of Anson's interview with the Manchu authorities. The book contains many translations of Yuan Mei's verse and prose.
'The quotations, many of them poems of the most exquisite quality; the anecdotes, always with a flavour quintessentially Chinese, illumine the whole period with so brilliant a glow that Yuan Mei ambles among us, laughing and chatting and pausing to sip tea. The whole picture is profoundly human and quite unforgettable.' - The Times Literary Supplement