1867. Item #85344
[CHINESE LANGUAGE] WADE, Thomas Francis. WEN-CHIEN TZU-ERH CHI, A SERIES OF PAPERS SELECTED AS SPECIMENS OF DOCUMENTARY CHINESE, Designed to Assist Students of the Language as Written by the Officials of China. In Sixteen Parts, with Key. London: Trubner & Co., 1867. First edition. Two quarto volumes. xii, 456 pp.; iv,72,52 pp. 30 x 23 cm. The second volume has a separate title-page: KEY TO THE TZU ERH CHI. DOCUMENTARY SERIES. VOLUME I. CONTAINING TRANSLATIONS OF PAPERS 1 TO 75, AND NOTES TO PAPERS 1 TO 65, INCLUSIVE. Depsite the Volume 1 designation, there were no further volumes published. Both volumes have the title in Chinese characters at the head of the title-page, as well as a contemporary ink ownership (of J. E. Woodruff). In worn and rubbed contemporary bindings with marbled sides. Both volumes are missing the original red leather backstrip. The spine of the first volume, WEN-CHIEN TZU-ERH CHI, has been neatly covered with brown cloth tape and its hinges strengthened with white cloth tape. Additionally, Volume 1 shows internal and external evidence of worming. Internally, the worm damage is confined to the margins without affecting the text and there are some pencil notes. Sir Thomas Francis Wade (1818-1895), a British soldier turned diplomat and Sinologist, was the first professor of Chinese at Cambridge University. He developed a system of romanizing the Chinese language based on pronunciation conventions of the Beijing dialect. The system was later modified by Herbert Giles (another diplomat and scholar who had succeeded him as professor of Chinese at Cambridge) and became known as the Wade-Giles system. It was widely used throughout much of the twentieth century to represent the sounds of Mandarin in Western publications and is still used to represent some personal and place names. This work was prepared with the express purpose of preparing individuals destined to join Her Majesty's Consular Service in China with the written language of government as it appeared in books and in official correspondence. (Cordier III, 1689; DNB).