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The Poison of Polygamy


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Table of Contents

About the author: Wong Shee Ping
Why is polygamy poisonous? An historical context
Translator's introductionThe Poison of PolygamyAcknowledgementsAppendix I: Character names and connotations
Appendix II: The romanisations used in the the translation and the footnotes
Appendix III: Business names
Appendix IV: The newspaper business and Chinese Australians
Appendix V: Place namesMaps

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Translated into English for the first time, The Poison of Polygamy tells the story of a southern Chinese man in the Victorian goldfields.

About the Author

Wong Shee Ping was a writer for Melbourne's Chinese Times, a Christian preacher, a Chinese revolutionary and a member of a prominent family in Victoria's Chinese business community. He is reported to have spoken little English, yet he made it his mission to espouse Western-influenced values and ideas.Ely Finch is a consultant translator and linguist who specialises in historical documents and inscriptions written in literary (classical) Chinese, Cantonese, and other southern Chinese languages. His expertise and work on Australian Chinese-language historical material has been of assistance to historians, archaeologists, museums and other institutions, and has garnered widespread academic and community attention in recent years.Mei-fen Kuo is a scholar of Chinese Australians from a diasporic perspective. Her Making Chinese Australia: Urban Elites, Newspapers and the Formation of Chinese Australian Identity, 1892-1912, was shortlisted for the W K Hancock Prize, and, with Judith Brett, she authored Unlocking the History of the Australasian Kuo Min Tang, 1911-2013. Mei-fen was an ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Queensland and is currently a visiting scholar at National Chengchi University under the MOFA Taiwan Fellowship.Michael Williams is an historian of the Chinese diaspora and is a founding member of the Chinese Australian Historical Society. His current research involves a history of the dictation test, a history of Chinese opera in Australia, and a comparison of Australia's pre-1949 Chinese-Australian history with its post-1989 history. Michael is an adjunct fellow with the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and is the author of Returning Home with Glory (Hong Kong University Press, 2018). Michael also teaches courses in Australian history and Chinese in the world at Beijing Foreign Studies University.


Listen to the surprising story of author Wong Shee Ping on Radio National's "The History Listen", https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-history-listen/wong-shee-ping/11134898.

-- Rebecca Huntey * Radio National's The History Listen *

"Fundamentally, this novel is a treasure of Australian literature. The
outstanding translation of this work of late Qing literary Chinese and its
unique position within the history of the Chinese diaspora make The Poison
of Polygamy
of great interest to international scholars also."

-- Jocelyn Chey * Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia *

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