The Plum in the Golden Vase, Or, Chin P_ing Mei: The aphrodisiac

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Princeton University Press, Apr 1, 2006 - Fiction - 722 pages
4 Reviews

In this third volume of a planned five-volume series, David Roy provides a complete and annotated translation of the famous Chin P'ing Mei, an anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel that focuses on the domestic life of His-men Ch'ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. This work, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of narrative art--not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but also in a world-historical context.

Written during the second half of the sixteenth century and first published in 1618, The Plum in the Golden Vase is noted for its surprisingly modern technique. With the possible exception of The Tale of Genji (ca. 1010) and Don Quixote (1605, 1615), there is no earlier work of prose fiction of equal sophistication in world literature. Although its importance in the history of Chinese narrative has long been recognized, the technical virtuosity of the author, which is more reminiscent of the Dickens of Bleak House, the Joyce of Ulysses, or the Nabokov of Lolita than anything in earlier Chinese fiction, has not yet received adequate recognition. This is partly because all of the existing European translations are either abridged or based on an inferior recension of the text. This translation and its annotation aim to faithfully represent and elucidate all the rhetorical features of the original in its most authentic form and thereby enable the Western reader to appreciate this Chinese masterpiece at its true worth.

Replete with convincing portrayals of the darker side of human nature, it should appeal to anyone interested in a compelling story, compellingly told.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - questbird - LibraryThing

The second volume in this work deals with Hsi-Men Ch'ing's household after he has added his two latest wives P'an Chin-lien and Li P'ing-erh. The main thread going through this part of the novel is P ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - questbird - LibraryThing

Like Story of the Stone, the Plum in the Golden Vase is a dense work with many characters, but focused on one household. However the characters are generally mean, spiteful, corrupt or generally ... Read full review

Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
CHAPTER 41
1
CHAPTER 42
19
CHAPTER
40
CHAPTER
51
CHAPTER 44
65
CHAPTER 45
81
CHAPTER 46
97
CHAPTER 53
289
CHAPTER 54
320
CHAPTER 55
346
CHAPTER 56
374
CHAPTER 57
394
CHAPTER 58
420
CHAPTER 59
453
CHAPTER 60
469

CHAPTER 47
129
CHAPTER 48
147
CHAPTER 49
171
Chintung Eavesdrops on the Joys of Lovemaking
203
Yuehniang Listens to the Exposition Of The Diamond Sutra
221
CHAPTER 52
255
Pingerh Becomes Ill Because of Suppressed Anger
489
Notes
507
BiBliography
639
Index
673
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

David Tod Roy is Professor Emeritus of Chinese Literature at the University of Chicago, where he has studied the "Chin P'ing Mei" and taught it in his classics for the last three decades.

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