I would like to thank the people who have encouraged and helped me along the way to publication of this translation. First, Yu Wentao, who initially suggested that I undertake the translation, and who also introduced me to Chen Ran. I must also thank Chen Ran herself for her patience and for believing in my capabilities. Then Robin Visser for her praise and encouragement and for putting me in touch with Gregory McNamee, who recommended the translation to Columbia University Press. Finally, I must thank Zhang Tianxin in Beijing, who checked the entire manuscript against the Chinese to ensure there were no errors in translation. His suggestions have improved the accuracy of my work, although final responsibility for the quality of the translation must rest entirely upon my own shoulders.
These acknowledgments would not be complete without mention of Professor Wang Yitong, who first roused my interest in Chinese literature and culture in 1958 at the University of British Columbia, and of Li Shuo and my many other Chinese friends and colleagues who have, over the years, through their words and actions, led me toward an ever deepening appreciation of their culture, and thus to a deeper understanding of my own – and of what a rare and wonderful blessing it is to be able to stand between the two.