Tales of the EmperorFront Cover
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    ISBN: 9780889229440 | Paperback

    264 pages | Pub. Date: 20150615
    5.5 W × 8.5 H × .75 D inches
    Backlist | Fiction | Bisac: FIC014000
    Rights: WORLD


Tales of the Emperor is based on the life of Qin Shi Huang (circa 260–210 BCE), the “First Emperor” – he who unified China, gave it his name, built the Great Wall, entombed an army of terra cotta soldiers, authored legalism, erased history, insinuated governance, and established paranoia as a national characteristic. His dynasty did not outlive him but his influence permeates the present and, there is ample indication, will dominate the future.

The literary method of Tales of the Emperor is derived from the first Chinese attempt at “writing history” – the famous Historical Records of Ssu-Ma Ch’ien. Like that Chinese classic, Tales of the Emperor is motivated by the desire to understand the past by entering it, mixing testimony with anecdote, interpretation with invention, biography with characterization, objective analysis with passionate self-interest.

Birth to death, Tales of the Emperor tells the story of its central figure in a thematic rather than a chronologic narrative. In a mosaic of separate tales – some no more than fragments, others chapter-length – intersecting characters are presented, entwined, relinquished, among them a failed assassin, a wily adviser, an ironic architect, a castrated historian, an entire tribe of grave builders, and, of course, the wry, conflicted, everyday tyrant himself. The Emperor’s accomplishments are documented, his strivings are examined, and intimate tittle-tattle about him is indulged.

There’s only one principal theme: you find the antiquity you look for, or, in the language of the book: “history is the study of the paintings of great events.”

By Jack Winter

Jack Winter has taught literature, modern theatre, and creative writing at several Canadian and British universities, including York University and Bristol University. From 1961 to 1967, he was resident playwright at George Luscombe’s Toronto Workshop Productions, where he wrote seven stage plays. In a second tenure with TWP, he wrote five more.

Read more about Jack Winter

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news | 2015-11-12
“When the Emperor arrived among us, it was as if we had been expecting him.”

Tales of the Emperor , Jack Winter’s new novel, has been in the works … for more than a decade – and it’s now available! Tales of the Emperor is an oriental cabinet of curios based on the … an army of terra cotta soldiers. Birth to death, Tales of the Emperor tells the story of its central figure in a …