“The delightful pieces in The Teddy Bear Chronicles belong to a long and venerable tradition in Chinese literature, of quirky memoirs and casual personal essays, sometimes lyrical, sometimes telling a story. These miniatures might record a distant memory, a fleeting dream, or some recent experience. They were often written around a theme that had exercised a particular fascination (sometimes an obsession) on their author: strange creatures, eccentric habits, unusual pastimes. This type of thing we call in Chinese the informal literature of ‘jottings’ (biji wenxue). . . . the biji essay creates around itself a leisurely world of its own. It projects a view of the world in which things (sometimes the tiniest things) are brought into sharp but effortless focus. . . . Xi Xi’s bear-essays are a suburb and modern re-incarnation of this form.”
John Minford. “Preface” to The Teddy Bear Chronicles, translated by Christina Sanderson (CUHK Press, 2020), p. xiv-xv.