A labour of love – The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei: Volume One: The Gathering

This is one of the 4 greatest novels of China. All were coincidentally written in the 16th century.

This is the first of a 5- volume translation of Chin Ping Mei. It is the only complete English translation. I find the translation highly readable. The notes very useful. The font is also of a good readable size.

This translation has been hailed as a masterpiece.

There are 2 excellent reviews of this translation in the New York Review of Books. The first is a review of the 1st volume by Jonathan D Spence titled Remembrance of Ming’s Past dated 23 June 1994. The second is a review of the 5th and last volume by Perry Link dated 23 April 2015 titled The Wonderfully Elusive Chinese Novel.

The author of this magnificent novel of 100 chapters of 2923 pages is still unknown. But his pseudonym name used The Scoffing Scholar of Lan- Ling is intended to refer to a great Confucian philosopher of the 3rd century BC, Hsun Tzu. This is likely a red herring.

One of Hsun Tzu ‘s famous sayings is ” Nothing benefits learning more than being associated with the right people.”

Hsun Tzu is a Wade-Giles pronouncement. In pinyin he is known as Xunzi or Xun Kuang.

What’s the more famous name of this novel?

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