4: The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei, Volume Four: The Climax (Princeton Library of Asian Translations)

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9780691150437: 4: The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei, Volume Four: The Climax (Princeton Library of Asian Translations)
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This is the fourth and penultimate volume in David Roy's celebrated translation of one of the most famous and important novels in Chinese literature. The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei is an anonymous sixteenth-century work that focuses on the domestic life of Hsi-men Ch’ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant in a provincial town, who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. The novel, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of the narrative art form―not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context.

This complete and annotated translation aims 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.

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About the Author:

David Tod Roy (1933–2016) was professor emeritus of Chinese literature at the University of Chicago. His monumental five-volume translation of the Chin P'ing Mei was completed in 2013.

Review:

"[A] book of manners for the debauched. Its readers in the late Ming period likely hid it under their bedcovers."--Amy Tan, New York Times Book Review

Praise for the previous volumes: "[I]t is time to remind ourselves that The Plum in the Golden Vase is not just about sex, whether the numerous descriptions of sexual acts throughout the novel be viewed as titillating, harshly realistic, or, in Mr. Roy's words, intended 'to express in the most powerful metaphor available to him the author's contempt for the sort of persons who indulge in them.' The novel is a sprawling panorama of life and times in urban China, allegedly set safely in the Sung dynasty, but transparently contemporary to the author's late sixteenth-century world, as scores of internal references demonstrate. The eight hundred or so men, women, and children who appear in the book cover a breath-taking variety of human types, and encompass pretty much every imaginable mood and genre--from sadism to tenderness, from light humor to philosophical musings, from acute social commentary to outrageous satire."--Jonathan Spence, New York Review of Books

Praise for previous volumes: "Reading Roy's translation is a remarkable experience."--Robert Chatain, Chicago Tribune Review of Books

"Both the fourth volume of The Plum and the previous three volumes are top-notch English translation of traditional Chinese fiction. Roy's superb translation skills preserve the subtleties in the original Chinese novel. English-speaking readers can, for the first time, appreciate one of the masterpieces of Chinese fiction in its entirety, thanks to Roy's diligent and careful work. Most important of all, The Plum represents the culmination of Roy's life-long devotion to research on fin Ping Mei and demonstrates Roy's encyclopedic knowledge of Jin Ping Mei scholarship. Reading The Plum can help scholars understand the research that has been conducted on this novel and help them develop new directions for future research. I wholeheartedly recommend The Plum to anyone interested in Chinese literature, culture, and history, and look forward to the publication of the final volume of Roy's translation."--Junjie Luo, Chinese Literature

"This volume, a masterwork of translation of language, culture, social values, and literary intent provides students of linguistics, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, and history, as well as those willing to invest time in a long but highly entertaining tale with an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into sixteenth-century society outside imperial court circles during the Ming era."--Ilicia J. Sprey, Sixteenth Century Journal

Praise for previous volumes: "Clearly David Roy is the greatest scholar-translator in the field of premodern vernacular Chinese fiction. . . . The puns and various other kinds of word plays that abound in the Chin P'ing Mei are so difficult to translate that I can't help 'slapping the table in amazement' each time I see evidence of Roy's masterful rendition of them. . . . I recommend this book, in the strongest possible terms, to anyone interested in the novel form in general, in Chinese literature in particular, or in the translation of Chinese literature."--Shuhui Yang, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, and Reviews

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