Top 4 Books by Robert Morrison

 

Robert Morrison is certainly prolific in his choices when it came to his career – from being a missionary in Macau to penning several works that would lay the foundation for most of Chinese –Anglo literature of our times. His contribution to the literary world stands out on its own. Here are some of Robert Morrison’s best sellers, each a worthy read on its own.

 

A dictionary of the Chinese Language

This book was indeed groundbreaking and was the first of its kind to try and map the entire Chinese vocabulary, the local dialects. As such, it was a massive work in the making in the sense that it tried to do the impossible and came quite close to achieving the same. The reference work was often cited and used as a foundation for several Anglo-Chinese literature, making this book one of top 10 books by Morrison

Read it For:
for a comprehensive view of the Chinese dialects, and its usage
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Morrison, you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
it is “one of a kind”, given that it was published in 1812

The English Opium eater

This book is more of a biography into one of the most controversial English literary icons, namely Thomas de Quincey. Thomas, known for his predilection for drug fuelled creativity, was often castigated and little understood, until Morrison decided to do an autobiography on him. This book certainly explores all the facets of the man behind the Opium reputation and certainly casts him in a more positive light. The book certainly stands out as one of Robert Morrison popular novels

Read it For:
for a closer look at one of the most controversial literary figures
Don't Read it For:
if you are not into Quincey or Morrison, you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
The details, the vivid description used

Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect

This book, published in 1828, was financed by none other than East India company and around the time when the opium trade was at its height. Morrison felt encumbered on to write this book, which was more of a glossary to help overseas traders communicate directly with their Chinese couterparts. The fact that most of this book was designed to help opium traders did not sit well with Morrison. That apart, the book was fleshed out well enough, and contains three parts, Chinese-English, English – Chinese, and dialects. It stands out as a glossary, well ahead of its times

Read it For:
a better idea of China during the 1800’s
Don't Read it For:
If you are not into Morrison, then you may want to give this a miss
What makes this book stand out?:
the depth of details and references used

A grammar of the Chinese Language

This book by Robert Morrison, still remains relevant today though it does come with a few flaws, such as the fact that variations in consonants were often given a miss. That aside, the book stood the test of time and has been long considered to be an epochal work on Chinese grammar and provides readers with a better read on the language itself. It certainly deserves to be listed as one of the top 10 books by Robert Morrison

Read it For:
for a better understanding of the earlier variations of the Chinese language
Don't Read it For:
if you do not want to learn about Chinese grammar, then you may want to sit this one out
What makes this book stand out?:
the rich details, and the research makes this book a pivotal read for anyone studying Chinese language

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