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Probably the most popular book in the history of the Far East this classic combination of picaresue novel and folk epic mixes satire allegory and history into a rollicking tale It is the story of the roguish Monkey and his encounters with major and minor spirits gods demigods demons ogres monsters and fairies

10 thoughts on “西遊記 Xī yóu jì

  1. says:

    I kind of regret buying this book I thought it looked like a fun little read when I saw it in the mythology section so I picked it up several years agoWhy regret it when I enjoyed it? I could have enjoyed MORE of it You see I found out much later that Monkey is an abridged version of Journey to the West This is one of the four classic Chinese novels I've read and generally loved the other three Romance of the Three Kingdoms Outlaws of the Marsh and Dream of Red Mansions Now I've read an abridged version of the last one when I would have much preferred to read the full unabridged text I'll still have to do that at some pointStill I can recommend this book pretty enthusiastically to some people at there Reading the other three books mentioned above I undoubtedly tried to sell you on them directly or indirectly Perhaps you were even a bit interested However I recognize that the other three thousand page monsters can be pretty intimidating particularly since they feature so many characters with names that are difficult to pronounce and keep straight if you are not particularly familiar with Chinese names Monkey is only about three hundred pages and style wise is a much easier read as well There are fewer important characters and they have easily pronouncedremembered names Monkey and Pigsy being two of the main four characters This story is also uite a bit of a folk tale than the others so it remains noticeably simpler That said it retains the very classic style that I haven't seen anywhere besides these Chinese novels The charmingly formal well that people address one another even the taunts before battles are formalized in a very uniue way This would be a great book to use as your trial run into classic Chinese literature and if you enjoy the general style of it you will enjoy the style of the longer and difficult books as well

  2. says:

    An interesting if strange read like nothing I've read before It's funny historically interesting and at times very engaging if somewhat hard to get into

  3. says:

    Its funny I read about 50 pages of this then lost the thread and started struggling with who was who to such an extent that I put it down for a few monthsAfter this break I then went back about 20 pages and started again This time it stuck I sailed through the rest of the book and really enjoyed it I think if I hadn't of struggled it might have been 5 stars but all in all I think 4 is a fair mark

  4. says:

    Perhaps because I have been reading too many political books—inevitably dreary—I found Monkey to be almost electrifyingly delightful from the beginning to the very end When I bought the book used on a whim I knew virtually nothing about it other than it was a famous Chinese classic Thus I vaguely expected something rather dry and edifying; so I was delighted was instead I found the inspiration for one of my great childhood loves Dragon Ball Indeed while admittedly lacking in animation Monkey is just as silly and wonderful as Goku’s exploits—with the added benefit of giving you bragging rights for reading itWell perhaps I should not feel too proud as Monkey is an abridgement of a much larger work Journey to the West which is than six times longer But as the original book is episodic—consisting of misadventure after misadventure on the way to India—the reading experience of this shorter version is seamless as it merely consists of fewer episodesAuthorship of this book is normally attributed Wu Cheng’en who seems a rather tepid character in comparison to his book But Wu—or whoever the author was—had ample material to work with By the time that Journey to the West was written there was already a very old oral tradition concerning the 7th century Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang called Tripitaka in this version and his many trials on the way to India The author’s accomplishment consists in arranging these many stories into a coherent whole and telling them in lively collouial prose The closest European counterpart I can think of is Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais which was written at very close to the same time Both books are absurd and strikingly irreverent and filled with gusto and a zest for life But of course the parallel is not exact While both works parody conventional politics and religion Rabelais’s work is thoroughly earthy while Wu’s does have higher spiritual resonances especially as the book progresses Indeed I admit I felt slightly holy myself by the time I put it down as I read it during my own little pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago The book was a perfect companion

  5. says:

    Kudos to Arthur Waley for somehow reducing this 100 chapter classic of ancient Chinese literature into a 30 chapter abridgment that makes sense Certainly many hard choices were made along the way There is almost none of the florid court poetry that the original has in abundance and many fun adventures wound up on the cutting room floor but what remains captures the spirit humor suspense and moral lessons of Wu Cheng'en's Xi You Ji Journey to the WestBecause this was published in 1943 all spellings follow the Wade Giles guidelines instead of the cleaner truer Hanyu Pinyin This will hardly matter to readers with little knowledge of Chinese pronunciation but I'm not a big fan of the earlier British Imperial language system for Mandarin and it slowed me downWaley also chooses uaint names for his uartet of seekers and loses any subtlety or richness in the process Zhu Bajie Eight Precepts Swine becomes Pigsy for example The priest Tang Sanzang becomes Tripitaka rather than Hsuan Tsang Tripitaka is Three Baskets the very Buddhist Scripture this priest and his disciples are traveling to India to receive and as applied to this uesting monk is dry and reductive It's rather like translating Moses as The Tablets I wasn't a big fan of this choice eitherAll in all a 35 star treatment of a 5 star story

  6. says:

    Monkey is Arthur Waley's delightful rendition of Wu Cheng en's Journey to the West one of China's four great classical novels This abridged version provides English readers with an experience that would otherwise have been inaccessible to those of us unable to read the original Chinese The novel offers a pleasant mixture of action adventure and comedy It examines a number of meaningful themes including three great Eastern philosophies Buddhism Tao and Confucianism and satirical commentary on their failed practice by people in an overly bureaucratic society who miss the forest for the trees A must read

  7. says:

    The last thing I'd expect a hundreds of years old slice of classic Chinese literature to be is fun but that's exactly what MONKEY is It's great fun It's a delight to read a thoroughly modern action adventure storyline that embodies the classic 'journey' narrative and packs it to the brim with all manner of outlandish incident and constant humourThe only difficulty with MONKEY comes from trying to remember all of the various deities and sub sections that Heaven is made up of Almost every character in the story is divine in some way and that's overwhelming at first but the you read the it all makes sense Monkey himself is a great protagonist; he starts off as completely annoying but the reader gradually warms to him as the narrative progresses Monkey never changes but the reader gets to know and like him instead The rest of the characters Tripitaka Pigsy and Sandy are built to entertainArthur Waley's translation is a joy to read and probably the most readable version of a 16th century story that you'll ever find It's also surprisingly modern in places complete with back stabbing betrayal and low brow humour The story is tumultuous and fantastic and yes epic in the true sense of the word; the only problem is that this is an abridged version of a much much longer original and thus it makes you long to read the full length version

  8. says:

    According to WikipediaJourney to the West is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng'en It is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literatureThe novel is an extended account of the legendary pilgrimage of the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang who traveled to the Western Regions that is Central Asia and India to obtain Buddhist sacred texts sūtras and returned after many trials and much sufferingIn the book the monk is named Tripitaka His three disciples Monkey Pigsy and Sandy accompany him on his journeyI am glad that I read this book because it is a Chinese classic However I thought the story hard to follow Therefore I can give it only3 starsThe copy I read is the abridged version I think the original is 4 volumes and entitled Journey to the West

  9. says:

    I read this in Japanese so I cannot comment about the uality of the English translation Part adventure journey part human comedy disguised as fantasy Very cynical to government bureaucracyFor those who are wondering about the complete translation of this classic There have been multiple versions of this because authorship in the old China is not what you assume People added their own fancy as they hand copied the books and it's hardly possible to distinguish which part is authentic Again I cannot comment about this specific version but it just might be a good idea to start with this rather than the longer version

  10. says:

    Monkey is a magical tale of fantasy and adventure in the Tang Dynasty 618–907 of imperial China At around 350 pages this translation is actually a short version of the 2000 some page Journey to the West which was written in the 16th century It is a very important book throughout Asia and considered one of the four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature A Japanese friend of mine assures me that 98% of Asians know the story of Journey to the West whether through the book directly or its numerous spin offsAlthough Monkey is an abridgement it doesn’t read like one It really feels like a full story Most of what was omitted consists of individual adventures along the pilgrims’ journey to India to fetch Buddhist scriptures Since these mini adventures are largely self contained you don’t notice their absence when reading although the ending does come off as somewhat abruptI’ve been wanting to read some Wuxia for a long time due to my personal interest in martial arts Wuxia is basically Chinese martial fiction and it is hard to find anything in this genre with less than 2000 pages I specifically chose this abridged version because I wanted to get a soft start rather than dive right into a 2000 page brick only to give up Though the translation is not perfect the style is sometimes archaic and the ebook version contains some digital transfer errors Monkey still fulfilled my expectations And I expect this won’t be my last wuxia novel Despite the drawbacks I'm giving this five starts because I know I'm going to be thinking about this story for a long timeNoteWhile it definitely helps to first have some basic knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and terms ie the difference between Buddhas Bodhisattvas and Arhats and the major figures GuatamaSakyamuni Kwan Yin Amitabha and the Taoist Lao Tzu you could easily get by without any such prior knowledge and probably learn a good deal about Chinese beliefs simply by reading this book Interesting trivia Dragon Ball is based on Journey to the West The Monkey King is called Sun Wukong in Chinese and Son Goku in Japanese Hence the name of Goku in Dragon Ball who is based on the Monkey King