The Chinese aesthete, historian and poet Zhang Dai wrote his Dream Reminiscences in the late 1640s, just after the Ming dynasty had fallen to Manchu invaders.
Despite the beauty and complexity of Zhang s book, until Philip Kafalas In Limpid Dream neither Zhang Dai nor his Dream Reminiscences had been the subject of an extended study in English. Kafalas and Zhang turn out to be an ideal match, for Kafalas is a critic with the spirit of a poet, alert to every nuance and swerve of Zhang Dai s diction, constantly discovering new meanings and connections in Zhang Dai s random-seeming sequence of 123 brief prose pieces. Zhang Dai s structural ingenuity and cultural allusiveness fascinate Kafalas, who follows Zhang wherever he beckons. The result is a powerful and moving joint soliloquy on memory, history, time, space and the moment, in which Ming sensibility blends almost seamlessly with our current cultural condition. In Limpid Dream, like the Dream Reminiscences that inspired it, is a book to read and to ponder.
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Paperback: 286 pages