"Scholars who know classical Chinese have been reading and citing Hong Mai's wonderful collection for many years. Now students can access these informative materials through Zhang’s lively English translations. They are both fun to read and deeply informative about daily life, religion, markets, and multiple social groups in the twelfth century. The comprehensive thematic guide allows readers to locate tales by subject matter, making this collection of 100 narratives ideal for classroom use.”
—Valerie Hansen, Yale University
"With these selections and translations from Hong Mai's Record of the Listener, Zhang discloses, for the very first time to anglophone students and scholars, the variety and complexity of late medieval Chinese society. . . . Here we see representations of all social classes and occupations and all religious vocations—Buddhist monks, Daoist priests, Confucian literati, diviners, and mediums—as they interact to resolve familial tensions, realize their personal aspirations, and gain control over both their lives and their afterlives.
"Zhang provides an extensive and lucid Introduction to Hong Mai and the Song Dynasty, as well as a unique thematic index that will allow teacher and student to cross-reference all the stories and reconstruct a picture of Chinese society in the twelfth century in far greater detail than is possible for any other medieval society, east or west. Brava!"
—Edward L. Davis, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa