Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

On entrusting the second edition of my book About Women to the Kaiming Bookstore,I find it necessary to write an author's preface.

It was in September 1943,that the Tiandi Publishing House published the first edition of About Women.As soon as it came out,many friends asked me to send them copies as gifts.But the number of requests was so large that I found myself“in a fix.”I had to make it clear to everyone that my male friends would receive no copies from me,because I supposed them to be so interested in such a book that they would buy a copy even if they received none as a present.As for my female friends,however,I had no excuse at all!First,because I had always respectfully cherished their friendship,and second,because it was only to them that I owed my“inspiration”in writing this book.Thus,I must,in all respects,send them respectfully my offerings as a token of my gratitude.

I found,however,that in no way could I decently send my friends copies of the first edition of About Women,since the misprints that flawed it were not only countless but also so outrageous that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.For example,instead of“I have been fond of a lot of women,”what was printed was“I have treated a lot of women in a filial way,”and what should have been“Men are more likely to be idle…when living together,”appeared as“Men feel more happy…when living together.”Worse still,and too numerous to count,were misprints such as“you”instead of“I”and“he”instead of“you.”The Tiandi Publishing House once told me that the book was selling so well that publishers were thinking about a second edition after hardly three months had passed since the first one came out.Then I made haste to correct the misprints and turned over the better version to my publishers.But after that I received no further news whatsoever!Although About Women is being sold in bookstores in Chongqing,Guilin,Kunming…and even in Qujiang,Xi'an…,up to now only its“first edition”can be found.The“second edition,”copies of which I promised to offer as gifts to my female friends,hasn't appeared yet,and I've even been bitterly called down by my brothers' wives!

I couldn't keep waiting.I wrote to the Tiandi Publishing House and asked for an explanation.In their reply,my publishers said that out of the five thousand copies of the first edition,one or two hundred remained unsold,in addition to those damaged by rainwater or gnawed by mice.They finally apologized for“not having made enough effort to promote the sale.”I felt ashamed and could say nothing,although About Women was being played up in the“Literary News Columns”of various Chinese newspapers as“selling extremely well.”Even quotations in American literary journals,which I received from some American women friends who asked me for copies of the book,also spoke highly of it and called it“the Best Seller in Chungking.”

It is for this reason that I am delivering the already corrected version of this book to the Kaiming Bookstore for a second edition,in order to pay the debt I have long owed to my female friends.At the same time,I hope to add a few more stories of women to a possible second edition of this“second edition,”for it is to women that I will always feel indebted for what is most superb and pure in my“inspiration.”

One night in February 1945

The Lingyin Mountain Villa,Mt.Da Huang