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The Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature

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Zach Leete

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of The Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature

Introduction Water Margin The Classics Today - Water Margin The Classics Today - Romance of the Three Kingdoms The Classics Today - Journey to the West Romance of the Three Kingdoms Written in the 14th century.
Author - Luo Guanzhong.
Set during the end of the Han Dynasty & 3 kingdoms era.
This story is a compilation of historical facts and accounts, legends, and myths.
The stories document different rulers/retainers who vied to control or restore the crumbling Han Dynasty.
Approx. 800,000 words, nearly 1,000 characters, 120 chapters.
Main Story Points - Yellow Turban Rebellion, Dong Zhuo's reign, conflict between nobles/warlords, Liu Bei's Oath of the Peach Garden, Battle of Red Cliffs, Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province, Death of Guan Yu, Battle of Xiaoting, Zhuge Liang's campaigns, and the end of the Three Kingdoms. Classics - Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, Dream of the Red Chamber.
Considered the greatest and most influential literary works of pre-modern China.
Very lengthy and ambitious stories that span long time periods.
Written between the 14th - 18th century. The Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature & their relevance today Sometimes confused with the 4 books (5 classics) of Confucius.
Written in Vernacular style. This differed from many works during this time period (travel journals, schools of thought, philosophical texts). "Shuihu Zhuan" (chinese translation)
Author: Shi Nai'an.
Set in Song Dynasty
Written in 14th Century.
Story takes place in the 11th century and ends in 1127.
Stories chronicle the exploits of Song Jiang and his 36 (108) companions.
Many different versions of the story exist. Some versions have only 70 chapters but omit certain stories while other versions have 100-120 chapters that further expand on Song Jiang's story. Journey to the West Written in the 16th century (Ming Dynasty).
Author - Wu Cheng'en
Simply titled "Monkey" in English (Arthur Waley transl.)
The novel is a fictionalized account of the legendary pilgrimage to India of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang as he searches for sutras.
Noticeable background in Chinese folklore and religion. Expresses Taoist sentiment and Chinese beliefs that still resonate in today's society.
As much about as journey to find enlightment as it is a journey for the sake of adventure. Dream of the Red Chamber Written in the middle of 18th century China during the Qing Dynasty,
Redology - the study of the Dream of the Red Chamber.
Also known as "Story of the Stone".
Author - Cao Xuequin (first 80 chapters), Gao E (additional 40 chapters).
Intended as a memorial to Xuequin's life.
40 main characters and almost 500 additional characters. The Classics Today - Dream of the Red Chamber "Jin Ping Mei" - The Plum in the Golden Vase/The Golden Lotus.
Author: Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng - "The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling".
Composed during the late Ming Dynasty.
Considered by many to be fifth classical novel of Chinese literature. Explicit depictions of sex have caused controversy over standing of this book. A Fifth Classic? http://www-personal.umich.edu/~dporter/sampler/sampler.html#cl



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