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View Full Version : Four Great classical novels of Chinese literature


Sam L
Nov 24th, 2012, 10:38 PM
Water Margin
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Journey to the West - This is of particular interest for me.
Dream of the Red Chamber

Has anyone read any or all of them? It's on my list to read but it is a long list right now.

Which one should I start with? The best translated version?

Barktra
Nov 24th, 2012, 10:41 PM
Journey to the West. I am reading it for school right now

dybbuk
Nov 25th, 2012, 12:26 AM
I've only read The Dream of the Red Chamber. I read it in the Penguin Edition which is split into like 7 smaller books iirc. Two translators worked on it; the first one is David Hawkes who I thought did a good job. I would start with that. The Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the best entry points into episodic, classical East Asian literature along with Tale of Genji. I'll be taking a Chinese lit class next semester, so hopefully I'll know more about this subject soon.

TBH, girl, just read classical or contemporary Japanese lit. I can hook you up with that shit.

Sam L
Nov 25th, 2012, 11:01 PM
I've only read The Dream of the Red Chamber. I read it in the Penguin Edition which is split into like 7 smaller books iirc. Two translators worked on it; the first one is David Hawkes who I thought did a good job. I would start with that. The Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the best entry points into episodic, classical East Asian literature along with Tale of Genji. I'll be taking a Chinese lit class next semester, so hopefully I'll know more about this subject soon.

TBH, girl, just read classical or contemporary Japanese lit. I can hook you up with that shit.

Not sure about contemporary Japanese literature but my sister likes it.

Tale of Genji is a great suggestion. I'll add it to the list. Thanks for your help.

Sam L
Nov 25th, 2012, 11:02 PM
Journey to the West. I am reading it for school right now
Thanks. This one's definitely high on my list to read.

cowsonice
Nov 25th, 2012, 11:49 PM
I've read Journey to the West in Chinese as a kid. I hated it (probably because it was the worst way of teaching Chinese to a child), and I'd say it's kind of like the Chinese The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where it is presented to kids as an adventure story with social themes embedded in it or whatever.

So tbh, I find it quite hard to find a good translation or get a good read on it because it's been heavily commercialized towards kids. Whenever I ask my parents about the value of it in terms of literature, they say that it encompasses a lot of adventure and good story and has endured generations. Take from that what you will. :shrug:

Lin Lin
Nov 26th, 2012, 12:23 AM
Wow,I think it's too hard to understand these novels:eek:

BTW,for me, Water Margin>Dream of the Red Chamber>>>>>Journey to the West.

moby
Nov 26th, 2012, 02:16 AM
Journey to the West works best in serialised TV. :oh:

Mynarco
Nov 26th, 2012, 03:00 AM
I've read the comic version of all four I think. Not literally read one of them though

Lin Lin
Nov 26th, 2012, 04:00 AM
There are too many ancient poems in these novels, I was fascinated to these poems when I was in middle school.:lol:

I wonder how they translate this to english,never read the english version of them,curious:lol:

donellcarey
Nov 26th, 2012, 09:45 AM
I never read Dream of the Red Chamber :tape:

Sam L
Dec 17th, 2012, 11:15 AM
I've only read The Dream of the Red Chamber. I read it in the Penguin Edition which is split into like 7 smaller books iirc. Two translators worked on it; the first one is David Hawkes who I thought did a good job. I would start with that. The Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the best entry points into episodic, classical East Asian literature along with Tale of Genji. I'll be taking a Chinese lit class next semester, so hopefully I'll know more about this subject soon.

TBH, girl, just read classical or contemporary Japanese lit. I can hook you up with that shit.

You should know, I've bought and have started reading Tale of Genji. Damn you for making me sidetrack from my reading list. ;) I gave it to my sister but she didn't like it. She likes more contemporary stuff.

Gagsquet
Dec 17th, 2012, 11:22 AM
I don't read Asian literature.

edificio
Dec 17th, 2012, 11:03 PM
There are too many ancient poems in these novels, I was fascinated to these poems when I was in middle school.:lol:

I wonder how they translate this to english,never read the english version of them,curious:lol:

Try to translate some for our benefit. Pretty please? :)