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)
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)
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.
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 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.