A Dictionary of Maqiao

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A Dictionary of Maqiao
AuthorHan Shaogong
Original title马桥词典
TranslatorJulia Lovell
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages400 pp (Eng. trans. edition)
ISBN0-231-12744-8 (Eng. trans. edition)
895.1/35 21
LC ClassPL2861.A662 M3613 2003

A Dictionary of Maqiao (Chinese: 马桥词典; pinyin: Mǎqiáo Cídiǎn) is a novel written by Chinese writer Han Shaogong.[1] It was first published in 1996 and was translated into English by Julia Lovell in 2003.[1] Yazhou Zhoukan selected it as one of the top 100 greatest Chinese novels in the 20th century.[2]

The novel is set in Maqiao, a village in Hunan province, China. It is written in the form of a dictionary, or more accurately, encyclopedia. It collects 115 ‘articles’ on Maqiao village life from the perspective of a young student sent there by the Down to the Countryside Movement. These ‘articles’ cohere into a story.[citation needed]

After the book was published, some critics claimed that was an imitation of Milorad Pavić's novel, Dictionary of the Khazars.[3] The author, Han Shaogong, claimed never to have read Pavić's work.[3] He brought a defamation case against the critics and won this case in 1999 at Haikou.[3]


  1. ^ a b "A Dictionary of Maqiao by Han Shaogong". Random House. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  2. ^ Donna Kilgore (2008). "Han Shaogong". In Michael Sollars; Arbolina Llamas Jennings (eds.). The Facts on File Companion to the World Novel: 1900 to the Present. pp. 340–341. ISBN 1438108362.
  3. ^ a b c Paola Iovene (2002). "Authenticity, Postmodernity, and Translation: The Debates around Han Shaogong's Dictionary of Maqiao" (PDF). Aion.

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