Zhongshu Qian was one of twentieth-century China's most ingenious literary stylists, the author of short stories, essays, and a brilliant comedic novel that has inspired generations of Chinese readers. Writing between the early years of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Communist takeover in 1949, Qian was a pioneering modernist and extraordinary satirist whose insight into the irony and travesties of modern China remains stunningly fresh.This eagerly awaited translation joins Qian's collection of iconoclastic essays on life, language, and literature, Written on the Margins of Life (1941), with his masterful short story collection, Man, Beast, Ghost (1946). Qian's essays elucidate substantive issues through deceptively simple subjects-the significance of windows versus doors, for example, or the blind spots of literary critics-and assert the primacy of critical and creative independence. His humorous stories blur the boundaries between various incarnations of humans, beasts, and ghosts who struggle through life, death, and resurrection. Christopher Rea situates these works within China's wartime politics and Qian's literary vision, highlighting significant changes between different editions that provide unprecedented insight into the author's creative process.