In describing the achievements and status of Lin Shu (18521924), who lived in late Qing and early Republican China, many researchers have called him a translator, novelist, theorist and writer of ancient-style prose (guwen), but few have considered him an anthologist and reviewer. In fact, Lin Shu edited and published two dozen anthologies of literature and history after 1908, such as Selected Readings of Chinese Literature for Middle Schools, Comments on Wang Fuzhi’s Historical Essays and Comments on Selected Masters’ Anthologies by Lin Shu, which together included almost 1500 pieces of prose and commentaries of varying length. During the selection trend of late Qing and early Republican China, Lin Shu’s anthology series stood above the rest. The external reasons for their success were the new publishing model and promotion of modern education, while the internal reasons were the unique text presentation, dominant implantation of the concepts of ancient Chinese (guwen), comprehensive reading system and diversified features of the commentaries. The production and dissemination of Lin’s anthologies was closely related to the rise of the Commercial Press (Shanghai) at that time. As a profit-pursuing private publisher, the Commercial Press extended its field of cooperation with Lin Shu from translated novels to literary anthologies, inevitably taking commercial interests into account in so doing. The strong demand for textbooks and anthologies created by the new education system had become the market focus of contemporary private publishers. The Commercial Press seized the opportunity and published many anthologies by Lin Shu, which not only produced economic benefits, but also effectively accelerated the spread of anthologies by Lin Shu. The quality of Lin’s anthologies was far higher than the selections produced by other common booksellers due to Lin’s great accomplishments in ancient Chinese and his motivation of passing on the classic texts of ancient Chinese. Lin Shu adopted two special modes of presentation in his anthology series: arrangement in reverse chronological order and choice from an existing selection. These practices not only highlighted the canonization and exemplariness of the selected works, but also took into account the students’ level and the new system of instruction. The preface and epilogue of the anthologies were Lin Shu’s essays on the last phase of the dynasty, which had a practical significance. Moreover, his preference for describing human feelings and his high opinion of the writing techniques in ancient Chinese prose were revealed in his selections and commentaries. The detailed content and diverse commentaries in Lin Shu’s anthology series complemented each other, and served as an indispensable reading system for readers. However, Lin’s commentaries clearly departed from traditional literary criticism, featuring a variety of methods such as comparison, induction, analogy and association. Lin Shu was a creative individual who possessed multiple identities, including those of prose writer, translator and theorist. Each of these identities could be considered a dimension for interpreting his commentaries. Lin Shu imbued his commentaries with two functions: the practical purpose of facilitating teaching and the idealist goal of passing on cultural tradition. Lin Shu and his anthology series laid an important foundation in the wave of selection during late Qing and early Republican China, and Lin’s self-image as an anthologist and commentator was shaped by his particular editing practices.