The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai
The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai, also translated as Shanghai Flowers or Biographies of Flowers by the Seashore, is an 1892 novel by Han Bangqing.The novel, the first such novel to be serially published, chronicles lives of courtesans in Shanghai in the late 19th century. Unlike most prostitution-oriented novels in Wu Chinese, specifically the Suzhou dialect, all dialog in this novel is in Wu.The acclaimed writer Eileen Chang translated the book into Mandarin, published in two parts under the titles "海上花開" and "海上花落" (lit. The Flowers of the Sea Bloom / Fade" or "The Flowers of Shanghai Bloom / Fade"). She also translated the book into English, which was not discovered until after her death. Eva Hung revised and edited the English translation before its publication.
Wilt L. Idema, who wrote a book review of The Chinese Novel at the Turn of the Century in T'oung Pao, wrote that the novel Shanghai Flowers included the use of Wu in dialogs, a "doomed to failure" protagonist, and a consciously crafted plot, therefore the book "already showed many of the characteristics of a typical Late Ch'ing novel".A film adaptation called Flowers of Shanghai was made in 1998.
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