A cheat's guide to China's 4 great classic novels - Books - Time Out BeijingChinese classic literature offers some of the most excellent novels ever written. We pick the classic novels all Chinese novel fans should read. The novel depicts nearly a hundred years of historical events starting from the late Eastern Han Dynasty to the early Western Jin Dynasty. The novel reflects the political and military struggle and the transformation of various social contradictions during the Three Kingdoms period , summarizing the historical changes of the times, creating a group of powerful heroes. The author shows significant tendency of supporting Liu Bei and opposing Cao Cao. The novel consists of chapters in total. Based on the framework that King Wu led punitive expeditions to conquer King Zhou, the book describes how the heavenly gods split into two groups and fight against each other to support the either side.
Chinese Classical Novels Part 4
A cheat's guide to China's 4 great classic novels
Dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties, they are well known to most Chinese readers. They are not to be confused with the Four Books of Confucianism. They are among the world's longest and oldest novels and are considered to be the pinnacle of China's achievement in classical novels, influencing the creation of many stories, plays, movies, games, and other forms of entertainment throughout East Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Chinese audiences were more interested in history and were more historical minded. They appreciated relative optimism, moral humanism, and relative emphasis on the welfare of the society. With the rise of monetary economy and urbanization beginning in the Song era, there was a growing professionalization of entertainment fostered by the spread of printing, the rise of literacy and education.
The history of Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature vernacular fiction novels that arose during the Ming dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese. The introduction of widespread woodblock printing during the Tang dynasty — and the invention of movable type printing by Bi Sheng — during the Song dynasty — rapidly spread written knowledge throughout China. In more modern times, the author Lu Xun — is considered the founder of baihua literature in China. Formation of the earliest layer of Chinese literature was influenced by oral traditions of different social and professional provenance: cult and lay musical practices Shijing ,  divination Yi jing , astronomy, exorcism. The most important of these include the Classics of Confucianism , of Daoism , of Mohism , of Legalism , as well as works of military science and Chinese history. Note that, except for the books of poems and songs, most of this literature is philosophical and didactic; there is little in the way of fiction. However, these texts maintained their significance through both their ideas and their prose style.
Chinese literature has a long, rich history, but the four novels considered to be the greatest of the canon were all written during the Ming — and Qing — dynasties. But over time, the four works described below gained recognition as cornerstones of Chinese culture, with historical settings that bring to life the experience of the Chinese nation, and iconic characters who represent how many Chinese individuals see themselves. The four works are listed below in chronological order, with recommendations for good English translations that you can purchase:. Much of Chinese history is a story of rebellions and conquests, so it is no coincidence that the first great novel to take hold of the Chinese imagination was a story of righteous rebels. Well, mostly righteous: some of them are drunks and knaves.
In northern China, the Shijing or Classic of Poetry (approx. with lines of four characters each (or four syllables, as Chinese . common, as depicted in novels, for example over dessert after a nice dinner.
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Journey to the West
Four long fictional novels are usually thought to be the best novels in Chinese literature. What all four have in common is that they were written in a spoken language of their times unlike most ancient literature that was written in the literary Classical Language. Also, all four have disputed authorship.
In China, there are four famous books of Chinese literature. To better understand Chinese civilization, a good grasp of the stories in these novels is essential. All have the philosophical, spiritual, and religious underpinnings characteristic of Chinese civilization. The story takes place during the fall of the Han Dynasty B. The historical ending of the Han Dynasty and transition into the Three Kingdoms period is illustrated with such forceful suspense and epic heroism that you will not easily want to put down this hefty, chapter novel. The author drew on the tales of this turbulent period with sophisticated narratives of loyalty and treachery, triumph and defeat. The story has come to epitomize all that was the best and worst of life in China.
What is it? Based loosely on real life rebel Song Jiang, who led an uprising in the early twelfth century, the novel is set around Mount Liang in Shandong, which was largely a lawless Wild West region, controlled by local warlords. It has been adapted into vast arrays of rewrites, films, TV dramas, music and operas. Surprisingly popular in Japanese manga, the novel has even inspired video games, a erotic novel, and a theme park. It is a fascinating glimpse into a bygone China of worthy bandits, corrupt court officials, filial piety, concubines, goddesses and emperors.