The first draft of this translation was made in
1941-42 when I was studying in Peking as a fellow of the Harvard-Yenching
Institute. It was revised during my second stay in Peking in 1947. As it now
goes to press after a further lapse of three years I am very conscious of the
need for another revision. In fact if I were beginning the translation today I
would proceed on rather different principles, especially in the annotation. The
reader will find much that betrays the novice, as often in what is included as
requiring a note as in the significant omissions. The text
includes considerable interesting material for
studies which I have not undertaken; in publishing it in this form it is with
the hope that an English version of the Han shih wai
chuan will attract the attention of those more competent than I to deal
with its many problems, sociological, institutional and philosophical.
I wish to thank Professor Hsü Wei-yü of National
Tsing Hua University and Professor Wang Li-ch`i of National Peking
University for giving me the benefit of their
wide knowledge of the Han shih wai chuan and related
texts. Mr. Hsü made some useful suggestions about bibliography, which I have
incorporated in my account of the history of the text. My indebtedness to Mr.
Wang is acknowledged in the notes to the specific passages about which I
consulted him. To Mr. Achilles Fang I owe a debt not so easily discharged. Mr.
Fang read the entire manuscript, and nearly every page incorporates corrections
which he has suggested.
The first two chapters of this translation were
presented to the Department of Far Eastern Languages at Harvard University as a
doctoral thesis. They were read by Professor J. R. Ware and were much improved
by his criticism. I wish here to thank these teachers and friends who have been
so generous with their time and knowledge. Without their help this translation
would be much poorer than it is.
J.R.H., Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1950