Anna M. Shields is Associate Professor of Chinese at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Exemplary in its scholarship and written with great human warmth and compassion, this book examines friendship among the literati of late 8th- and early 9th-century China as both an impetus to writing and as a social act. Through superb translations and acute interpretation, Shields opens a window on many heretofore neglected aspects of Tang-dynasty culture. Readers will be enlightened, captivated, and often emotionally moved to a degree unusual in an academic study. A book that brings the medieval past alive. -- Paul W. Kroll, University of Colorado Boulder