Kádár, Daniel Z. (2009) Model Letters in Late Imperial China: 60 Selected Epistles from 'Letters from Snow Swan Retreat'. LINCOM Studies in Chinese Linguistics (LSCHL) (07). Lincom, Munich, Germany. ISBN 9783929075625

This volume introduces the reader to the historical Chinese epistolary corpus, in particular model letters, via sixty translated and thoroughly annotated letters selected from the Letters from Snow Swan Retreat (雪鴻軒尺牘). This collection, dating from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), became one of the most influential and renowned manuals for letter writers. The present book is a groundbreaking work not only because it provides a translation of this difficult-to-read source, but also because no single-authored corpus of Chinese letters has been translated into English to date.

Letters from Snow Swan Retreat is an invaluable source for researchers and advanced students of Sinology. Furthermore, it is an important material for historical pragmaticians, historical politeness researchers and other experts of historical linguistics, with an interest in epistolary activity across cultures. Finally, the letters presented here are of interest to ‘lay’ readers devoted to Chinese literature due to the enjoyable archaic style of the translations.

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