The Other Greek, Arthur Cooper offers a captivating and unorthodox introduction to the world of the Chinese script through the medium of poetry, explaining the structure, meaning and cultural significance of each character. Written nearly half a century ago, and now published posthumously, the book argues that the role of Chinese writing was analogous to the influence of Greek civilization on Western culture. Chinese is the Greek of the Far East, ‘the other Greek’! Originally a cryptanalyst, Cooper uses his professional—and distinctly non-academic—training to analyse Chinese characters and points out a series of unacknowledged associations between them. Ultimately, he aims to initiate the reader with no prior knowledge of the language into Chinese writing and poetry.
Arthur Cooper (1916-1988) is primarily known to students of Chinese for his translations of Tang poetry. By profession, he was a cryptanalyst who worked at Bletchley Park during and after WWII, decoding Japanese military and diplomatic messages. He had a deep interest in language and poetry, as a result of which he devoted the later half of his life to studying the structure of the Chinese script.
Imre Galambos, Ph.D. (2002), UC Berkeley, is University Lecturer in Chinese at the University of Cambridge. He specializes in Chinese manuscript culture, with a particular emphasis on Dunhuang. His work includes the book
Manuscripts and Travellers (De Gruyter, 2012) and
Translating Chinese Tradition and Teaching Tangut Culture (De Gruyter, 2015). He is also the translator of Rong Xinjiang's
Eighteen Lectures on Dunhuang (Brill, 2013).
Table of contents
ForewordMichael LoeweList of Arthur Cooper’s Publications Editor’s Introduction: Arthur Cooper and The Other GreekImre Galambos Author’s Introduction 1
Etymology as the Principle of Chinese Writing 2
Introducing Chinese Characters 3
Deerpark Hermitage 4
River Snow: Part One—The Other Greek 5
River Snow: Part Two—Word-Building 6
River Snow: Part Three—Rhythm 7
Stars and Seething Pots 9
The Ballad of the Ancient Cypress 10
On Releasing a Wild Goose 11
Ware, Ware, Snares For Hares 12
“The Way”: Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu 13
When I was Green 14
Snow and Plum 15
Farewell to the God of Plagues Index
All interested in a cultural approach to Chinese poetry and Chinese characters. Although no prior language knowledge is assumed, it is equally useful for advanced students of traditional China.