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I was pointed in the direction of this website "Read Paper Republic" which is potentially a fantastic resource for Chinese short story translations. And possibly an outlet for some of Bill's work.

We at Paper Republic are a collective of literary translators, promoting new Chinese fiction in translation. Our new initiative, Read Paper Republic, is for readers who wonder what new Chinese fiction in English translation has to offer and would like to dip a toe in the water.

I have noticed that Amazon do not appear to list William Dolby as the translator of Mr Ma and Son which certainly needs to be remedied. Indeed Ms. Julia Lovell gets a mention as introducing the work but Bill's name does not receive equal status.

However, to do justice to his work I found this snippet:

"Lao She is one of the most important Chinese writers of the last century, perhaps best known to English readers for his great proletarian classic Rickshaw Boy (1937). Now an earlier and little known novel, Mr Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London  (Er Ma 1929) has been published by Penguin Classics in an excellent translation by William Dolby that at last does justice to Lao She’s unsung comic masterpiece. Mr Ma and Son gives us a unique account of what life was like for Chinese people in 1920s London. The novel draws largely on the writer’s own experiences, since his arrival in 1924 to take up a post teaching Mandarin classes at the School of Oriental Studies, then at Finsbury Circus. "

This small but direct and pointed mention can be found at London Fiction


Over the last few days we have attempted to find other work completed by William Dolby. We know of some not-yet-located books that he wrote or translated:


1. Bai Pu: 13th Century Playwright and

2. The Battle of Red Cliff: a Mighty Chinese Conflict, 1984

3. A Full Concurrent Vocabulary of the Yuan Drama Sheng-Jin Ge, 1986

4. Western Writings on Chinese Theatre, 1986

5. Chronological Tables of Chinese History: Pinyin Version, 1985

6. Hsia T'ing-Chih's Green Bower Collection: Ch'ing-Lou Chi, 1988 by T'ing-chih Hsia and William Dolby

7. Chingis-Khan: His Biography in the Official Chinese History By Sung Lien (1310-1381) 1987, by Lien Sung and William Dolby

8. Editions of Kuan Han-Ching's Plays: a Comparative Study, 1986

9. Tang Shi-Poems: Text-Book, 1987

10. The House of Kou-Chien: and Other Chinese Stories, 1985

11. A Date-Dictionary of Chinese Literary Figures, 1987

12. Dictionary of Chinese and Japanese Emperors, Rulers, States and Eras, 1986

13. Pronunciation index to Chinese simplified characters, 1988

14. Chinese Newspaper Pieces: a Text Book With Full Vocabulary & Full-Form Character & Romanised Texts, 1986

15. Ci Poems: a Text Book, 1986

16. Illustrations to Chinese Entertainments, 1986

17. Plays, 1984, by Hanqing Guan and William Dolby

18. Golden Butterflies: a Chinese Ballad of Romance, 1983, by William Dolby

19. Father of Chinese Drama: a Sketch of the Life and Works of Guan Hanquing, 1983

20. Poems of the Tang and Sung, 1983

21. Whistling Free: The Complete Non-dramatic Lyrics of Ma Zhiyuan (1260-1325) (Wellsweep Chinese Poets), 21 Apr 1992, by Zhiyuan Ma and William Dolby

22. Chinese Yuan Dramas, 1983, by William Dolby and Hsing fu Li


Some of the items listed above could be the original editions of certain volumes in his Chinese Culture Series (with different titles). They could also be part of a larger edition of works within the Chinese Culture Series, stretching this above the 33 volumes found so far. However, some of the titles do stand out as individual works which leads us to conclude that we are still missing quite a few translations and research potentials.

Most of the above titles were taken from Amazon lists, leading us to believe that these works were originally lodged at the British Library or other book depository. Therefore, only one copy will exist.

Sometime in the future we will attempt to control these books, to copy them or to find the original work. If anybody does have a view on this e.g. an actual copy, then please do inform us as we attempt to collate Bill's work here.


Ieuan Dolby