Dr. Sondergard completes fifth book in series

Book By St. Lawrence English Prof Translates Chinese Stories

 The fifth book in a series by St. Lawrence University Piskor Professor of English Sidney Sondergard, the first complete English translation of short stories by 18th-century Chinese writer Pu Songling, has just been published by Jain Publishing. As with all of the other volumes, it features illustrations by St. Lawrence graduates. Six volumes are planned.

The weird and whimsical short stories in Strange Tales from Liaozhai show their author, Pu Songling (1640-1715), to be both an explorer of the macabre, like Edgar Allan Poe, and a moralist, like Aesop. In this first complete translation of the collection's 494 stories into English, readers will encounter supernatural creatures, natural disasters, magical aspects of Buddhist and Daoist spirituality and a wide range of Chinese folklore. Annotations are provided to clarify unfamiliar references or cultural allusions, and introductory essays have been included to explain facets of Pu Songling's work and to provide context for some of the unique qualities of his uncanny tales."

The books "continue the Chinese tradition of including black-and-white illustrations for a number of the stories." Dr. Sondergard has commissioned artists to create work specifically for the project, and plans to include illustrations by St. Lawrence alumni in each volume.

Dr. Sondergard has been a member of the faculty at St. Lawrence since 1986. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Wichita State University, and the Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. The 1997 Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lecturer on campus, he is the author of Sharpening Her Pen: Strategies of Rhetorical Violence by Early Modern English Women Writers (2002) and co-translator of the 2002 book The Cabala of Pegasus: An Annotated Translation of Giordano Bruno's Cabala del cavallo Pegaseo.