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Importance of Living

ISBN-10: 0688163521
ISBN-13: 9780688163525
Edition: 1998 (Reprint)
Authors: Lin Yutang
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Description: The Importance of Living is a wry, witty antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world. Lin Yutang's prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude, and  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.99
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 9/16/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.232
Language: English

The Importance of Living is a wry, witty antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world. Lin Yutang's prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude, and never forget that there will always be plenty of fools around who are willing-indeed, eager-to be busy, to make themselves useful, and to exercise power while you bask in the simple joy of existence.At a time when we're overwhelmed with wake-up calls, here is a refreshing, playful reminder to savor life's simple pleasures.

Though he was never considered to be a serious original thinker or a leading writer in his native China, Lin Yu-t'ang's role as an essayist and popularizer of things Chinese in the West is worthy of attention. He was a native of Changchow in Amoy, son of a Presbyterian minister, and third-generation Christian. He was brought up in a strict household and prepared for the ministry, and after middle school he was sent to the Protestant College of Amoy. In 1911 he entered the famous St. John's University in Shanghai, and it was during his time there that he became disillusioned with the choice of a religious career and renounced Christianity. After graduation (with a rather weak academic record), Lin Yu-t'ang became a professor of English at Tsinghua University because his grounding in foreign languages was much stronger than in classical Chinese. In 1919 he decided to pursue further study in the United States, where he spent one year at Harvard University and then went on to France where he worked for the YMCA. He moved to Germany for a term, and at last in 1923 earned a Ph.D. in Leipzig in the field of archaic Chinese phonology. Lin Yu-t'ang then returned home and tried out various teaching posts, and in 1927 became secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Wuhan government. But politics was not to his liking, and he resigned in the following year. In 1932 he founded the Analects Fortnightly, a magazine of wit and satire that proved to be an instant popular success. Two years later he began another periodical, This Human World, which contained short essays. Unfortunately, his satire angered intellectuals on both the Left and the Right, and this was the beginning of his lifelong friction with Chinese literary and academic circles. In 1936, feeling hostility at home but an increased demand for his writings in the West, Lin Yu-t'ang went to New York City and remained there until 1943, when he went back home to lecture briefly and again became embroiled in controversy. However, in the United States, his essays and ideas were greeted with great enthusiasm. Early in 1954 he was appointed chancellor of the new Chinese University in Singapore, but, because of a disagreement with the trustees on policy, he and his staff left early in 1955 before the university opened its doors. Not long after this, in New York, he and his wife publicly announced their reconversion to Christianity. In addition to his many books of essays, Lin Yu-t'ang published a novel, Moment in Peking, a saga about a Chinese family spanning the years 1900--38. He also published a number of translations of classical Chinese works, the best of which is perhaps Shen Fu's Six Chapters of a Floating Life, the moving autobiographical account of a happy marriage marred by parental disapproval and the tragic early death of the wife. Lin Yu-t'ang's writings are marked by an appreciation of both Eastern and Western culture, and their sparkling, idiomatic English style has endeared him to thousands of Western readers.

Preface
The Awakening
Approach to Life
A Pseudo-Scientific Formula
The Scamp as Ideal
Views of Mankind
Christian, Greek and Chinese
Earth-bound
Spirit and Flesh
A Biological View
Human Life a Poem
Our Animal Heritage
The Monkey Epic
In the Image of the Monkey
On Being Mortal
On Having a Stomach
On Having Strong Muscles
On Having a Mind
On Being Human
On Human Dignity
On Playful Curiosity: The Rise of Human Civilization
On Dreams
On the Sense of Humor
On Being Wayward and Incalculable
The Doctrine of the Individual
Who Can Best Enjoy Life?
Find Thyself: Chuangtse
Passion, Wisdom and Courage: Mencius
Cynicism, Folly and Camouflage: Laotse
"Philosophy of Half-and-Half": Tsesse
A Lover of Life: T'ao Yuanming
The Feast of Life
The Problem of Happiness
Human Happiness Is Sensuous
Chin's Thirty-three Happy Moments
Misunderstandings of Materialism
How About Mental Pleasures?
The Importance of Loafing
Man the Only Working Animal
The Chinese Theory of Leisure
The Cult of the Idle Life
This Earth the Only Heaven
What Is Luck?
Three American Vices
The Enjoyment of the Home
On Getting Biological
Celibacy a Freak of Civilization
On Sex Appeal
The Chinese Family Ideal
On Growing Old Gracefully
The Enjoyment of Living
On Lying in Bed
On Sitting in Chairs
On Conversation
On Tea and Friendship
On Smoke and Incense
On Drink and Wine Games
On Food and Medicine
Some Curious Western Customs
The Inhumanity of Western Dress
On House and Interiors
The Enjoyment of Nature
Paradise Lost?
On Bigness
Two Chinese Ladies
On Rocks and Trees
On Flowers and Flower Arrangements
The "Vase Flowers" of Yuan Chunglang
The Epigrams of Chang Ch'ao
The Enjoyment of Travel
On Going About and Seeing Things
"The Travels of Mingliaotse"
The Reason for the Flight
The Way of Traveling
At Austere Heights
Back to Humanity
Philosophy of the Flight
The Enjoyment of Culture
Good Taste in Knowledge
Art as Play and Personality
The Art of Reading
The Art of Writing
Relationship to God
The Restoration of Religion
Why I Am a Pagan
The Art of Thinking
The Need for Humanized Thinking
The Return to Common Sense
Be Reasonable
Certain Chinese Names
A Chinese Critical Vocabulary
Index of Names and Subjects

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