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Journey to the West, Volume 1 Paperback – 15 Feb 1980

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Paperback, 15 Feb 1980
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (15 Feb. 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226971503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226971506
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 943,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"In 1983, Anthony C. Yu's "The Journey to the West "conveyed intact to readers of English the classic that had enthralled Chinese children for centuries. It taught scholars that the novel's many poems were as important as its prose. This new version draws on thirty years of the author's further studies in literature and religion. It traces one theme after another to the Quanzhen Daoist movement and its new synthesis of religious thought. The translation is a joy to read, and the introduction and commentary reveal the deep foundations on which this fantastic tale of adventure is built."
--Nathan Sivin "University of Chicago "

In 1983, Anthony C. Yu s "The Journey to the West "conveyed intact to readers of English the classic that had enthralled Chinese children for centuries. It taught scholars that the novel s many poems were as important as its prose. This new version draws on thirty years of the author s further studies in literature and religion. It traces one theme after another to the Quanzhen Daoist movement and its new synthesis of religious thought. The translation is a joy to read, and the introduction and commentary reveal the deep foundations on which this fantastic tale of adventure is built.
--Nathan Sivin "University of Chicago "" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Anthony C. Yu is the Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Format: Paperback
I'm not even going to attempt any objectivity here: in my view it's simply the Best Book Ever Written.
It's spiritually uplifting (even for an atheist like me), it's sometimes sad (but never maudlin), but most of all it's funny. Often Rolling On The Floor-funny. Puns, slapstick, razor-sharp wit and even some bizarre lines and situations that Spike Milligan or the Pythons would have been proud to have thought of: something for every well-developed sense of humour.
Furthermore, I cannot recommend this translation highly enough.
The main difference between the Yu translation and the Waley translation from the 50s is that the latter is heavily abridged, whereas Yu has here translated the novel's 100 chapters in their entirety over 4 volumes. (And don't let the fact it's 4 volumes long deter you however: Yu's translation is copiously annotated and footnoted, which contributes much to the page count but isn't essential to enjoyment of the novel.) Yu himself acknowledges a debt to the Waley translation and nowhere is that debt more obvious than in the handling of the dialogue, particularly in the bantering exchanges between Monkey and Pigsy (and the asides between Pigsy and Sandy as they take the mickey out of Monkey behind his back) -all very much as they were in the old NTV series that played on BBC2 in the 80s (and more recently on C4).
The narrative follows the adventures of a stone monkey, hatched from a stone egg, who causes uproar in Heaven (their own fault: hiring The Great Sage Equal of Heaven as a mere horse-groom indeed!) until he's pinned under a mountain by the Buddha to await the arrival of a Holy Pilgrim.
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Format: Paperback
I recall the TV series Monkey very well, and I've recently reacquainted myself with the newly released videos. I've also read the Penguin Classic version of Monkey, which is a great read. It shares much in common with the TV series, having a terrific bubbly quality to the prose. The full translation was something, therefore, I really wanted to read. And I'm afraid you really do have to WANT to read this. The bursts of verse and seemingly excessive (by our standards) use of cumbersome (again, by our standards) proper names can make this quite a tough read in places. However, sixty pages of introductory material containing a full account of the history of the tale, and a mountain of notes at the back make this a worthy buy for a serious collector. I would recommend this book, and the other volumes in this series, wholeheartedly!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Journey to the West is a fairly mammoth task. It is long: I've seen the statistic that it is twice the length of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Be prepared to navigate your way through the tricky to translate metaphors in the poems, characters who use a wide variety of names and a narrative structure unlike anything a present day Western reader is expecting. Also be prepared to discover endearing characters, beautiful word use and a sense of humour and fun that defies time and cultural divides, assisted by a very thorough, accessible and beautifully written translation by Anthony Yu. When I wasn't too engrossed in the story, the footnotes at the back provided an excellent explanation of what various turns or phrase refer to and lead me to learn so much about Chinese mythology and history. While I expected that it would be a long slog to get through the first volume, I found I'd read it very quickly. Now the only thing holding me back from continuing the journey is having to purchase the next volume!

As a PS, someone who is starting to read should try keeping a "Xuanzang falls off his horse" count. He seems to do it quite frequently, made me giggle every time...
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Format: Paperback
The Journey To The West, Vol. 1 contains the first section of Wu Cheng-En's classic saga. Edited by Anthony C. Yu, it is four volumes and length, is almost exactly the same as the original masterpiece, which was written in the 1500s. Some might find the book a bit hard going, as it goes into great detail about Tripitaka's pilgrimage to India with Monkey, Sandy and Pigsy, retaining a lot of the original poetry.
Fans of the Japanese TV series 'Monkey' will love this, as the programme is based on the story 'Journey To The West'. I read this book and it is brilliant, even though it does take a while to read! I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Buddhism, China, Pilgrimages or MONKEY!
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