Post by Admin on May 12, 2020 10:23:14 GMT
Introduction of Jin Ping Mei at Wikipedia
So a friend of mine recommended me to read this book. And I was pretty shocked as this book reputation as a porn book written in the middle of Ming Dynasty. Yet my friend insisted and said that the book gained its notoriety since the western translation of this book only emphasize on the porn part instead the beauty of the literature. My friend said that this book is really awesome and should be considered as one of the 5 Classics of China, - among the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream in the Red Mansion, Outlaw of the Marsh and Journey to the West.
Then when I look at the Wikipedia, I found out that one of the English translator, a Sinologist and a professor at Princeton University spent thirty years to translate this book, and his work with the annotations is even translated back to Chinese as he made a thorough study on this book.
Curious, I gave it a try. My friend lent me the ebook version and apparently David Tod Roy the translator was really serious and his introduction of this book is enough to make me continue to read this book.
According to David T. Roy, the translator of this book used this story to describe the decadent of the Ming Dynasty, using the story of Ximen Qing and his women who described to live in the end of the Northern Song Dynasty. He gave a very long introduction about this book, how the author was a fervent supporter of Xunzi theory. As recently I'm reading Xunzi and Hanfeizi (a pupil of Xunzi), the book introduction although very long (a few hundred pages) is enough to keep me reading.
The translator also wrote that this book, is definitely one of the most misunderstood book, and the book should not be viewed as porn novels.
Therefore I started to read this book with more openminded and without judging this book as a porn novel.
Yet, I have to say that there are pretty much sexual themes in this novel, and they're pretty descriptive that sometimes I scratch my head and compared the novel with the original Chinese text. And apparently, the translation is very faithful compared with the original Chinese text.
The novel is pretty interesting. Just like Dream of the Red Mansion, this book also pretty descriptive. And one can learn from the book about the life of the people at that time - what they ate, how they travelled, their wedding custom, etc.
The English translation by David T. Roy consisted of 5 books. And I have been reading up to the 3rd novel and gave some peeps on the 5th novel just to see how Pan Jinlian died
Apparently, although sometimes boring and too long, but the story is pretty interesting. and I think the best part of this book is because it's very detailed and it enabled us to see how the people live in that era.
I would recommend this book if you have time. You can search read online on the internet for this book. The Chinese version is definitely more original, but without annotation it will be difficult to understand the whole points. Therefore if you're a bilingual, you should read the Chinese and use the English annotations if needed.