"On Friendship, with its total of one hundred sayings, is the perfect gift for friends."--Feng Yingjing, renowned scholar and civic official, 1601 Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) is best known as the Italian Jesuit missionary who brought Christianity to China. He also published a landmark text on friendship--the first book to be written in Chinese by a European--that instantly became a late Ming best seller. On Friendship distilled the best ideas on friendship from Renaissance Latin texts into one hundred pure and provocative Chinese maxims. Written in a masterful classical style, Ricci's sayings established his reputation as a great sage and the sentiments still ring true. Available for the first time in English, On Friendship matches a carefully edited Chinese text with a facing-page English translation and includes notes on sources and biographical, historical, and cultural information. Still admired in China for its sophistication and inspirational wisdom, On Friendship is a delightful cross-cultural work by a crucial and fascinating historical figure.
It is also an excellent tool for learning Chinese, pairing a superb model of the classical language with an accessible and accurate translation.
Timothy Billings holds advanced degrees in sinology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and in English literature from Cornell University. For more than ten years he has been a professor at Middlebury College, where he teaches Shakespeare and world literature. His critical edition of Victor Segalen's French and Chinese prose poems, Steles, was awarded the Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work.
Acknowledgments Introduction On Friendship Chronology of Editions Texts and Variants Sources and Notes Index